How will my basal cell carcinoma be diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks that the mark on your skin needs
further investigation, you will be referred to a dermatologist who will decide whether or not it really is a basal cell carcinoma.
To confirm the diagnosis, a small section of the area of abnormal skin (a biopsy), or whole of it (an excision biopsy) may
be cut out and examined under the microscope. You will be given a local anaesthetic beforehand to numb the skin.
Can basal cell carcinomas be cured?
Yes, basal cell carcinomas can be cured in almost every case, although
treatment becomes complicated if they have been neglected for a very long time, or if they are in an awkward place - such
as near the eye, nose or ear. Seldom if ever do they spread to other parts of the body.
How can a basal cell carcinoma be treated?
You will probably have your basal cell carcinoma removed
surgically. Usually, this means cutting away the basal cell carcinoma, along with some clear skin around it, under a local
anaesthetic. Mohs micrographic surgery is usually undertaken if simple surgery is not suitable.
|Other types of treatment, which are used less often, include:|
- Photodynamic therapy – Applying a special cream to the basal cell carcinoma under a dressing for 4-6 hours
with, which then destroys the basal cell carcinoma when a special light is shone onto it.
- Curettage and cautery – first the basal cell carcinoma is scraped away (curettage) and then the skin surface
is sealed (cautery).
- Cryotherapy - freezing the basal cell carcinoma with a very cold substance (liquid nitrogen).
- Radiotherapy – shining X-rays onto the area containing the basal cell carcinoma.This can be an effective
treatment for surgery. However, if the tumour does come back Mohs Surgery is considered to try and definitively clear the
- Creams – these can be applied to the skin. The two most commonly used are 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and imiquimod.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is considered if:
a) the tumour does come back following other treatments
b) if the tumour affects critical sites in the central zone of the face, particularly around the eyes, mouth and nose, and