Why Your Dermatologist May Recommend Mohs Surgery for Basal Cell Carcinoma
Skin cancer can be a scary and unexpected finding on our bodies. Once discovered, we might immediately jump to survival mode and research how to stop the spread and begin the removal process. In addition to melanoma, a common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). The sooner the cancer is found, the quicker it can be treated and spreading can be kept to a minimum. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can assist in both diagnosis and treatment of any kind of skin cancer.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Skin cells that produce new cells as old cells die off are called basal cells. When basal cells become compromised you may become diagnosed with BCC. As the compromise occurs, you may notice a small, transparent bump on the skin. These bumps often appear on body parts most often exposed to the sun, such as the face or neck. Long-term exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays are what compromise our basal cells and increase the opportunity of being diagnosed with BCC. In addition to UV rays, radiation therapy, fair skin, old age, and family history each play a role in being diagnosed with BCC.
Signs to look for on your body that may signify BCC include pearly white bumps, a lesion with dark spots, scaly reddish patches or a wax-like lesion. These will all appear as new growths on the skin. Once any of these signs are noticed you should be examined by a dermatologist. The dermatologist can provide the proper diagnosis as well as the proper treatment.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Once a dermatologist has diagnosed your condition as BCC they will recommend treatment options as well as prevention tips. Treatment for BCC may include either a surgical excision or Mohs micrographic surgery. Mohs surgery is often recommended for BCC’s that are likely to reoccur. Before the procedure, an anesthetic may be used to numb the area being treated. During the Mohs surgery procedure, a dermatologist will remove the affected skin layer by layer. After each layer is removed it is tested for cancer. This process is repeated until no more cancer appears. After the procedure, the area will likely be stitched up. In a few short weeks the stitches will come out and your skin will be able to heal. You will also have follow-up appointments to ensure no other lesions have appeared. After your surgery, it is important to follow preventative measures to assist in avoiding another BCC diagnosis. Some measures you can take include avoiding the sun in the middle of the day (when it is the hottest and most detrimental to our bodies), always wearing and reapplying sunscreen, avoiding tanning beds and continuously checking your skin for any new lesions or bumps.
The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute are here to help diagnose and treat skin cancer for our patients. If you are in the Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding areas, complete this form to meet with us. We want to help you be as healthy as possible while providing you quality service and effective treatments.