Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatments

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in the United States. Millions of people are diagnosed with this type of skin cancer every year. BCC usually appears where the body is exposed to the sun, most commonly on the face, often on the nose. It also often appears on the head, neck, or backs of hands, but can develop anywhere on the body. Though BCC grows slowly, early treatment is essential because it can expand and penetrate deeply to destroy tissue and even bone underneath. When found early, BCC can nearly always be cured.

Causes: Ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds are the primary cause; people who use tanning beds tend to develop BCC earlier. The risk of developing skin cancer increases greatly after age 50. Those with fair or freckled skin, blond or red hair, or blue, green, or hazel eyes are more prone to developing BCC. People with blood relatives affected by BCC are also more at risk, as are those who have taken immunosuppressant drugs to treat diseases such as arthritis, HIV, and lymphoma, or have been treated with radiation therapy.

Symptoms: See a dermatologist if you observe any of the following on your skin:

  • Bump-like growth, often pink, cream or the color of surrounding skin, but may be brown or black, or with areas of brown or black that have visible small blood vessels. These growths may bleed or ooze easily or scab over.
  • Eczema-like patch that is shiny pink or red.
  • Lesion that is black, blue or brown, possibly with dark spots, with a raised surrounding-skin-colored border.
  • Scar-like growth the color of surrounding skin or pale-white to yellow with blurred edges and a waxy feel.
  • Sores or acne-like lesions that won’t heal, that bleed or ooze easily, are crusty with a sunken center, or with blood vessels or surrounding blood vessels.

Treatment: Your dermatologist will take a skin biopsy by removing all or part of the growth, examine it under a microscope, or send it to a laboratory for more analysis. Treatment methods include:

  • Curettage and electrodessication: The growth is scraped away, and an electric needle is used to kill cancer cells and control bleeding. The affected area is numbed beforehand.
  • Excision: The affected area is numbed and the BCC and some healthy skin around it is cut away.
  • Freezing: Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and kill cancer cells.
  • Medicated creams: Patients apply medicated cream at home.
  • Mohs surgery: This specialized surgery has the highest cure rate for difficult-to-treat basal cell cancers.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT): A photosensitizer cream is followed by an incubation time and application of blue light that kills the cancer cells.
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells that cannot be cut out. Fifteen to thirty radiation treatments may be needed.

Best in Class Skin Care

Your skin is too important to leave to chance. Zel has participated in 100 clinical studies and seen more than 30,000 patients. And, unlike most skin care clinics, we conduct our own research internally to ensure the treatments we provide have been scientifically proven to improve the health of your skin.


Contact Zel Skin today to schedule your consultation.

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.