Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is one of the most common forms of skin cancer. If diagnosed early, this kind of cancer can be treated easily. If left untreated, however, it can spread deeply, injuring blood vessels, nerves, and anything else in its path.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Tri H. Nguyen provides safe and proven skin care procedures to patients in Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and surrounding communities.
How Dermatologists Treat Basal Cell Carcinoma
BCC is usually treated with a procedure known as “surgical removal.” If the patient is in the early stages of BCC, this procedure can be performed in the office of your dermatologist while you remain awake.
Three kinds of surgical removal procedures are available to treat basal cell carcinoma. The kind of surgical removal you undergo depends largely on the nature of the disease you have, it’s location and how deeply it has spread.
Some of the details of each type of surgical removal procedure are described below:
Your dermatologist will cut out the skin cancer and some part of normal-looking skin in the surrounding area. Taking out some healthy tissues around the edges of the carcinoma will help to eliminate stray cancer cells.
What your dermatologist takes out will be investigated under a high-powered microscope. The doctor who will conduct a detailed study of the tissue that has been removed under a microscope will pay special attention to the healthy surrounding tissues to see if they contain any cancer cells.
If the cancer cells are found in the surrounding healthy looking skin, you will require surgical treatment. The gold standard among surgical treatments for basal cell carcinoma is Mohs surgery.
On some parts of the body, such as your nose or an eyelid, taking out an area of healthy-looking skin along with the cancer may lead to problems because these areas do not have adequate skin on them. Mohs surgery is a conservative technique that will help eliminate the cancerous cells in a minimally invasive manner. The need for post-operative reconstructive surgery will be reduced.
Curettage and Electrodessication
During this kind of surgical removal, your dermatologist will first scrape the BCC from your skin, using a technique called curetting. After that, electrodesiccation will be performed, which involves the use of heat to destroy any leftover cancer cells.
This surgery is usually undertaken only when basal cell carcinoma develops on a leg, the trunk or an arm.
Light Therapy and Freezing
This procedure is known cryotherapy, and the surgeon can perform it in an office setting. In this procedure, an extremely cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen is sprayed on the BCC to eliminate the tumor.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is the medical term given to this procedure. It consists of two parts. First of all, a solution that will make your skin more sensitive to light will be applied to the cancer and the surrounding area. You will be required to sit with this solution on your skin for a few hours.
Once the surgeon thinks your skin is ready, he or she will treat the skin area with a blue or red light to destroy the cancerous cells. This therapy can treat some cases of early BCCs effectively, but the patient may require repeat treatments.
Medication Applied to the Skin
Two medicines that are required to be applied to skin of the patient that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of BCC are: (a) Imiquimod: This is usually applied once a day or once every other day for a period of six weeks or longer; and (b) 5-FU: This medication is applied twice a day for around three to six weeks.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Tri H. Nguyen receives patients from Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and nearby areas for advanced skin care treatments.
For more information on procedures and treatments offered at Texas Surgical Dermatology PA please call 832.663.6566 or click here to contact our dermatologists. Helping patients in Houston, The Woodlands, Springs, Katy and other surrounding areas of Texas.