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A 63-year-old member asked:

Is basal cell carcinoma serious?

5 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine 22 years experience
Yes and no: Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer which is not malignant in the sense it will not spread to distant parts of the body and threaten life the way that other cancers can. It is still a cancer though and since it tends to affect the face it can grow into cosmetically sensitive areas and near nerves. It sometimes needs more complicated surgery to remove given the location on the face.
Dr. Michael Matthew
Plastic Surgery 22 years experience
Not usually: Basal cell cancers can be locally aggressive and depending on the location a challenge to remove requiring extensive surgery, but they rarely spread to other organs and are usually small and excised under local anesthetic.
Dr. Roxanne Sylora
Plastic Surgery 27 years experience
Not usually: Most basal cell carcinomas are small, grow rapidly, and rarely spread to other parts of the body. They are best treated (and easily treated) when small. If allowed to continue to grow, treatment can be more difficult and disfiguring.
Dr. John Hoffmann
Plastic Surgery 39 years experience
Can become serious: Basal cell cancer is the most common type of skin cancer. When treated early and while it is still small, the cure rates with simple surgery are excellent. If neglected, basal cell carcinomas can become very destructive and much more difficult to treat and reconstruct.
Dr. Timothy Mountcastle
Plastic Surgery 23 years experience
No: Basal cell is a locally agressive cancer that typically can not spread (metastasize). Therefore if removed it is gone. I have seen them the size of a baseball and they can grow into surrounding tissue as well (such as bone or muscle if u let it go for years) so it is something that should be take care of sooner than later.

Similar questions

A 42-year-old member asked:

What exactly is basal cell carcinoma?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
Slow but must treat: These begin as little ulcers or nodules, often on the face and with easy-to-see vessels. They are best removed surgically; though they seldom spread to remote sites, they can destroy the face and invade the brain if they are ignored. Today's surgery leaves minimal scarring.
Dr. Michael Thompson
Hematology and Oncology 21 years experience
Agree, but for locally advanced or metastatic BCC a new drug has recently been approved -- vismodegib (Erivedge, Genentech)
Jul 11, 2012
A 30-year-old member asked:

What are the symptoms of basal cell carcinoma?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bryan McIntosh
Plastic Surgery 20 years experience
Raised skin lesion: Usually basal cell carcinoma presents as a relatively small, round, raised, pearly skin lesion. It can be smooth or have a small central depression. There may be a purplish or reddish color to the lesion. Usually it is isolated and single and quite slow to grow. There is rarely any pain or itching or any other sign that there is a problem. Of all skin cancers, basal cell is the least aggressive.
A 40-year-old member asked:

What causes basal cell carcinoma?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Peppercorn
Dermatology 44 years experience
Basal cell: Years of sun damage or exposure to radiation treatment or arsenic.
A 42-year-old member asked:

What is basal cell carcinoma and how is it treated?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jay Bradley
Cornea, Cataract, & Refractive (LASIK & PRK) Surgery 19 years experience
Basal cell carcinoma: This is a type of cancer which commonly occurs in the skin. It is treated with excisional biopsy in most cases. See your doctor.
A 35-year-old member asked:

How is basal cell carcinoma diagnosed?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jay Bradley
Cornea, Cataract, & Refractive (LASIK & PRK) Surgery 19 years experience
Basal cell carcinoma: This type of tumor is diagnosed by clinical appearance and confirmed by excisional biopsy in most cases.

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Last updated Feb 20, 2019

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