Can Basal Cell Carcinoma Spread Quickly?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer in the U.S. but is also the most curable. This is especially the case when it's caught early enough. That's why it's crucial to see your dermatologist about any changes in your skin and get annual check-ups.
At Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic in San Antonio and Live Oak, TX, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jean-Denis Boucher helps patients identify basal cell carcinoma for a more simple and effective treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about how basal cell carcinoma spreads.
What is the skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma?
BCC affects over 3 million Americans a year and tends to develop in fair-skinned people. It's most commonly found on the face, neck, and arms since those areas get sun exposure and damage.
Basal cells are one of the three layers of your epidermis (the outermost layer of your skin). They lay at the bottom of the epidermis and produce new skin cells when old ones are damaged. But when basal cells are damaged by UV light from unprotected sun or tanning bed exposure, they malfunction and cause cancer.
BCC is the uncontrolled growth of basal cells that results from this UV damage. It's crucial to catch the signs of BCC early. When you do, treatment is often less invasive.
What does basal cell carcinoma look like?
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that looks like a raised bump on the skin. In some people, they may be flesh-colored, while others have described them as pearl-like or even reddish. In some cases, they may even crust or ooze.
If you have a raised bump on the skin that develops slowly and does not go away over the next few weeks, it's essential to see a dermatologist about it.
Does basal cell carcinoma spread quickly?
Basal cell carcinoma does not typically spread quickly. Even though it grows slowly, that does not mean patients should put off getting an assessment or treatment.
When Dr. Boucher removes cancer cells, it requires removing the small tumor as well as some of the surrounding healthy tissue. That's because it's crucial to remove all surrounding cancer cells so that no cells are left behind to continue growing and spreading.
The earlier a patient gets BCC treatment, the more likely they are to need less invasive treatment. BCC can become disfiguring and (in rare cases) aggressive and fatal if not treated promptly, so getting a thorough and honest opinion on the best treatment is vital.
Does basal cell carcinoma require surgery?
If BCC is caught early enough, a patient may not need excision surgery. Dr. Boucher can typically perform treatments on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic. When caught early, the procedure comes with minimal pain and scarring.
Non-surgical treatment options for basal cell carcinoma that is caught early may include:
Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
Anti-cancer creams and ointments
Get a skin cancer assessment or basal cell carcinoma treatment in San Antonio and Live Oak, TX
If you spend time in the sun or tanning beds without consistent protection or notice changes in your skin, it's essential to get an assessment from an experienced dermatologist to catch any problems early. Patients who live in San Antonio and Live Oak, TX can schedule a consultation with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jean-Denis Boucher at Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic today.