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Basal Cell Carcinoma: All About the Most Common Form of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma: All About the Most Common Form of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and more people develop basal cell carcinoma (BCC) than any other form. In fact, it accounts for about 80% of all skin cancers

While any cancer diagnosis can be daunting, it’s important to know that basal cell skin cancer is quite treatable — especially with an early diagnosis.

Dermatologic surgeon and skin cancer specialist, Ali Hendi, MD, serving the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas, provides effective outpatient treatment onsite, including Mohs surgery, for this common skin cancer.

In this blog post, we explore basal cell carcinoma from early signs to effective treatments.

What causes basal cell carcinoma

Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is believed to be the leading cause of basal cell carcinoma. So, if you’ve spent quite a bit of time in the sun without UV protection or bronzing your skin in a tanning salon, your chances are heightened.

Genetic factors seem to contribute in a small number of cases, meaning that a family history of BCC could also increase your risk. And while cumulative UV exposure means that diagnoses after age 50 are common, an increasing number of people in their 20s and 30s are developing it. Having fair skin or taking immunosuppressive medication may also contribute.

Basal cell carcinoma symptoms

Like many skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma usually shows up as what looks like a mole, growth, or wound that won’t heal. These signs tend to appear on sun-exposed areas of your skin, such as your face and neck. Less frequently, BCC appears on covered areas.

Known as lesions, BCC growths usually have one or more of these traits:

These symptoms may appear pretty suddenly or slowly and gradually. 

Basal cell carcinoma treatment

Once you’re diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, which generally requires an exam and lab test, our treatment aims to completely remove your cancer. While some BBCs are removed through radiation therapy or freezing, surgical removal is standard.

Dr. Hendi specializes in Mohs surgery, which brings an up to 99% cure rate with minimal scarring. During your procedure, he removes cancerous cells layer by layer, with meticulous precision, until none remain. In addition to its effectiveness, Mohs surgeries don’t damage the surrounding tissue.

Once your treatment is complete, Dr. Hendi may recommend skin cancer surveillance. These noninvasive, head-to-toe skin exams help catch early signs of additional skin cancers. 

To learn more about basal cell carcinoma or get started with the care you need, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, today.

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