Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed skin cancer in the U.S. and accounts for roughly 75% of all skin cancers. Chronic exposure to sunlight is the main factor in the development of basal cell carcinoma. Other known causes include: ultraviolet light, chemical carcinogens (i.e. hydrocarbons), ionizing radiation, cigarette smoking, and chronic skin irritation. Patients who are immunocompromised due to either HIV or anti-rejection medications are at an increased risk.
There are four main types of Basal Cell Carcinoma: Nodular (& micronodular), Superficial, Infiltrating, and Morpheaform.
The infiltrating and morpheaform subtypes often exhibit focal areas of invasion and may be locally aggressive. These two types have the highest rates of recurrence and positive margins. Nodular and superficial spreading types tend to be more indolent and slower growing tumors.
Although some of the smaller lesions may be treated with Cryotherapy (freezing the lesion) or with topical chemotherapy (5-FU), Dr. Brenner prefers that these tumors be cleared surgically using direct excision. Direct excision can be performed and confirmed with frozen section analysis by a pathologist. Alternatively, a dermatologist familiar with Moh’s technique can remove the tumor. Reconstruction of the resulting defect can be performed once removal of the tumor has been confirmed. The type of reconstruction that is used depends on the size of the defect as well as the location of the defect. Dr. Brenner can discuss the multitude of surgical options with you during your consultation.