BASAL CELL CARCINOMA

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer in humans. Fortunately, they tend to grow slowly and remain localised. Chronic exposure to sun and UV rays are a major contributing factor for all basal cell carcinomas. It is not a coincidence that they tend to occur most frequently on the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders and back. Basal cell carcinoma can masquerade as acne bumps, eczema lesions or scars.

Some telling signs that a spot on your skin might be a basal cell carcinoma include: an open sore, a reddish patch, a shiny bump or nodule, a pink growth, and a scar-like area. These lesions tend to bleed and may be itchy. Basal cell carcinoma usually doubles in size every year but is usually curable, especially if detected and treated early.

As with other forms of skin cancer, the age of onset is decreasing and the rate of incidence in women is rising. Basal cell carcinoma skin cancers have increased over the past few decades, and the average age of onset of the disease has steadily decreased.

 

BIOPSY

If the lesion is suspicious, a biopsy should be performed. During a skin biopsy, a small piece of skin (typically smaller than a pencil eraser) is removed. The procedure uses local anaesthetic and takes a few minutes. The information obtained from the biopsy allows Dr McHugh to decide whether skin cancer surgery is indicated.

EXCISION

Excisional surgery refers to excising (cutting out with a scalpel) a lesion, and then suturing the area to close it. Dr McHugh often uses

intra-operative histopathology to evaluate the edges of the tissue removed to determine whether the margins of the specimen are free of cancer.