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Basal Cell Carcinoma

Treatment Options

Treatment for most basal cell carcinoma involves some kind of surgery. Generally, the cancer is removed completely during biopsy and no further treatment is required. In most cases, basal cell carcinomas are curable, but people who have had the disease have a higher-than-average risk of developing another basal cell carcinoma.

Preventing Basal Cell Carcinoma

The best way to prevent basal cell carcinoma is to protect yourself from the sun. Doctors suggest that people of all ages limit their time in the sun and avoid other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Recommendations for basal cell carcinoma prevention include:
  • It is best to stay out of the midday sun (from mid-morning to late afternoon) whenever you can. You also should protect yourself from UV radiation reflected by sand, water, snow, and ice. UV radiation can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants of tightly woven fabrics, a hat with a wide brim, and sunglasses that absorb UV.
  • Use sunscreen lotions. Sunscreen may help prevent basal cell carcinoma, especially broad-spectrum sunscreen (to filter UVB and UVA rays) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. However, it is still important to avoid the sun and wear clothing to protect your skin.
  • Stay away from sunlamps and tanning booths.

A Summary of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Key points to keep in mind regarding basal cell carcinoma include:
  • Basal cell carcinoma is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the skin
  • Skin color and exposure to sunlight can affect the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis
  • Basal cell carcinoma often appears as a change in the skin
  • Tests or procedures that examine the skin are used to detect and diagnose basal cell carcinoma
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options for basal cell carcinoma.
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