Basal cell carcinoma:
This is a slow growing destructive skin tumor. The exact
cause is unknown, but precipitating factors include prolonged sun
exposure, arsenic ingestion, radiation exposure, burns, and very rare,-
vaccinations. It is more common with those with blond, fair skinned,
white males. There is three types of basal cell carcinoma:
1.) noduloulcerative, 2.) superficial, and 3.) sclerosing basal
* Noduloulcerative basal cell epitheliomas – occur most often on the face,
particularly on the forehead, eyelid margins, and nasolabial folds.
Early stage – lesions are usually small, smooth, pinkish translucent papules
with telangiectatic (a vascular lesion formed by dilation of a group of small
blood vessels) vessels on the surface and occasional pigmentation.
Late stage – lesions are enlarged, with depressed centers, firm and elevated
They eventually become ulcerated becoming locally invasive. Ulcerated
tumors rarely metastasize.
These occur if late stage lesions are not treated. If left
untreated, they can spread to vital areas and become infected, and
invade bone, or cause
massive hemorrhage if they invade large blood vessels.
* Superficial basal cell epitheliomas – occur most often on the chest
and back and appear as oval or irregularly shaped, light pigmented plaques with sharply
defined, slightly elevated thread – like borders. They may be scaly with small
atrophic areas in the center that resemble psoriasis or eczema. Such lesions are usually
chronic and noninvasive.
* Sclerosing basal cell epitheliomas – occur on the head and neck.
They appear as waxy, sclerotic, yellow to white plaques without
distinct borders and often
resemble small patches of scleroderma.
Diagnostic test: physical examination, biopsy and family history.
Treatment varies depending on size, location and depth of the
lesion. Treatment may include curettage and electrodesiccation for
small lesion. Chemotherapy with topical 5 – fluorouracil Surgical
excision, irradiation, or Moh’s microsurgery
* Regular follow up with your doctor is important
Call your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.
Cancer treatments seek to destroy malignant cells while sparing
normal ones, to reduce pain, and to induce cure or remission. A single
or a combination of treatments may be used. These treatments can
local and systemic therapy and offer doctors the advantage of attacking
with several mechanisms. They include:
* Chemotherapy – which interrupts malignant cells life cycles, inhibiting
or destroying their ability to divide
* Radiation – which also inhibits cell division by impairing DNA synthesis
and causing cell membrane lysis. Radiation can be used as a primary treatment
or as an adjunctive procedure intended to kill cancer cells that may have survived other treatments.
* Biotherapy ( immunotherapy ), which employs biological response modifiers
that act on malignant cells by inhibiting division and by enhancing the body’s
immune responses to such cells.
* Bone marrow transplantation, which is used to replace or replenish the
bone marrow of patients with leukemia or multiple myeloma
* Surgery, which removes tumors or reduces their size. Surgery
enables other treatments because there are fewer malignant cells to
* Several new cancer treatments are emerging. Surgical treatments
using lasers and intraoperative radiation can effectively remove tumors
or reduce their
size at the time of initial surgery and staging. Hyperthermia – the use
of heat to destroy cancer cells is being investigated as a single
modality and in combination with radiation and chemotherapy.