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What is basal cell carcinoma?


Healthy skin.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It frequently appears on the head, neck, and hands – although other parts of the body may also be affected – in the form of small and fleshy lumps, nodules or red-coloured patches.

People with light skin are most commonly affected by this type of cancer. In addition, although it is not a rapidly spreading cancer -it can take several months or even years before any of the symptoms reach the size of a centimetre in diameter- it can bleed, form a crust, and spread underneath the skin until it reaches the bones and nerves if not treated on time. That is why it is important to see a dermatologist as soon as you notice something strange on your skin.


Treatment for basal cell carcinoma

There are many medical and surgical procedures to treat different types of cancer today.

  • Surgical dermatological treatments, for example, include surgical removal, electrodesiccation and currettage (ED & C), which consists of scraping or alternatively burning the tumour in combination with low levels of electricity. There is also cryosurgery, or freezing with liquid nitrogen, and laser surgery.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery, on the other hand, is a special procedure that is used to remove the entire tumour without damaging the skin.
  • Other dermatological treatments include radiation therapy and photodynamic therapy, by which a chemical is applied to the skin before exposing it to a light source.
  • Finally, topical products can also be used in chemotherapy.


Prevention and early detection are the best cures.

  • Avoid spending many hours under the sun, apply sunscreen to areas of skin that will be exposed, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes,
  • Developing a regular routine of inspecting your body at least every two to three months and thus detecting any changes in the skin is essential.
  • Pay special attention to pigmented areas, and if you observe any type of change – size, shape, or colour variations- see a dermatologist.
  • Examine the body and back in the mirror, and next, check both sides of the body with your arms raised. Bend your elbows, look carefully at your forearms, the back of arms, and palms. Then look at the back of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes and the soles of your feet. Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Lift your hair. Finally, look at your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

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Diagnosis and treatment of basal cell carcinoma in Valencia

• Dr. Gabriel Serrano Sanmiguel

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