Basal/Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common forms of skin cancer among people today. Spending too much time out in the sun or excessively using indoor tanning booths are the major causes of these types of skin cancer. But with timely treatment, it’s likely for patients with basal or squamous cell carcinoma to make a full recovery. 

What Are Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are two forms of skin cancer, often referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancer. Cancer occurs when cells in the body start to duplicate uncontrollably and take over healthy cells. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are caused by skin damage, namely incurred from excessive exposure to the sun or UV rays.

Basal cells are found in the basal cell layer, which is the skin’s bottommost layer. The function of basal cells is to replace squamous cells that leave the surface of the skin. Basal cell carcinoma tends to form on sections of the skin that receive the most sun exposure, including the face, neck, and scalp. 

Squamous cells are found on the surface of the skin and are constantly being shed. Squamous cell carcinoma also forms on sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the face, neck, and scalp, as well as areas where the skin is thinner, such as the ears, lips, and the backs of the hands. 

Squamous cell carcinoma has a higher likelihood of spreading throughout the body than basal cell carcinoma. With that being said, the spread of squamous cell carcinoma is still rare. Most cases of both basal and squamous cell carcinoma can be successfully managed with prompt treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Small bumps on the skin that are red, pink, shiny, or pearlescent
    • Sections of black, brown, or blue skin may appear on the bumps.
  • Skin growths that are pink in color and raised around the perimeter
    • Blood vessels may point outward from the growths.
  • Open sores that don’t heal or are recurring
  • Sections of skin that appear pale, yellowed, flattened, or hardened
  • Itchiness

Symptoms or squamous cell carcinomas include:

  • Scaly, rough sections of skin
  • Skin growths that may have a depressed center
  • Skin growths that look like warts
  • Open sores that don’t heal or are recurring

How Are Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated?

Basal and squamous cell carcinoma treatments are intended to remove and stop the growth of cancerous cells, as well as resolve cosmetic symptoms, such as bumpy, darkened, scaly, or hardened skin. 

There are many effective surgical treatments for basal and squamous cell carcinoma, including:

  • Excision, which is the process of surgically cutting a tumor out of the skin. 
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation, which is a procedure used to remove cancerous skin tissue by scraping the surface of the skin, then cauterizing the treatment area to speed recovery. 
  • Mohs surgery, which is a procedure during which the surgeon removes cancerous skin tissues layer by layer. 

Most patients with basal and squamous cell carcinoma make a full recovery with one of the treatment options listed above. Contact us today to learn more about treatments for basal and squamous cell carcinoma. 

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