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A 36-year-old member asked:

what happens once you have basal cell carcinoma?

6 doctor answers18 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Yan
Plastic Surgery 20 years experience
Treatment: Basal cell carcinoma is a very common type of skin cancer. Once you have been diagnosed, the lesion is typically removed. This is commonly done by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. In some cases, medical treatments can be used if surgery is not a good option. These lesions rarely spread, but can be locally aggressive. Prognosis for these lesions is generally pretty good.
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Remove it: If untreated it will continue to grow and invade surrounding structures. Otherwise removal can include chemical, electrical, cryotherapy, curettage, and surgical eradication.
Dr. Mike Bowman
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 19 years experience
Excision: Basal cells need to be excised surgically. This can often be done under local anesthesia, but may require a trip to the surgery center or operating room depending on the size, location, etc. The outlook for basal cells is good. They almost never metastasize, so once they are removed properly, they generally don't reccur.
Dr. Jason Lichten
Plastic Surgery 23 years experience
Follow up: I agree with the discussion about excision of basal cell carcinomas, but you should also be very diligent about follow up. The statistics say that once you have had one bcc you have about a 30% chance of getting another (this does not have to be in the same area as the first bcc). After a second bcc the chances go up to 65% and after three, it is 85%. The best prevention is to use uv protection.
Dr. Keira Barr
Dr. Keira Barr commented
Dermatology 22 years experience
I agree. Depending on the location and histologic growth pattern management can include surgery, destruction with curretage and topical therapies. The key to minimize recurrences and formation of new skin cancer is close follow at a minimum every 6 months for approximately 2 yrs by a dermatologist. After that your doctor will help guide your cutaneous malignancy screening schedule.
Mar 7, 2012
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Can be cured: Basal cell carcinoma can be cured by local excision. The risk of recurrence is low. However, if a person has one basal cell carcinoma, he/she may develop other lesions and should be on the look out of new nodules or ulcers of the skin.
Dr. Annette Occhialini
Plastic Surgery 36 years experience
Treatment: Treatment varies from topical chemo for superficial bcc to excision and/or radiation. Once your bcc has been treated it is important to have your skin checked on a yearly basis as you are at increased risk of developing more of these.

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