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Basal Cell Cancer Specialist

ERderm -  - Dermatology


Dermatology & Surgical Dermatologists located in Newport Beach, CA

Skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancer, and basal cell carcinoma is the most frequently occurring subset. At ERderm in Newport Beach, California, skilled dermatologists Edward Rohaly, MD, and Samuel Peterson, MD, FACMS, FAAD, specialize in detecting and treating basal cell cancer, often using Mohs surgery to preserve the healthy surrounding skin. Learn more about basal cell cancer treatments or schedule a screening today by calling ERderm or requesting an appointment using the online booking tool.

Basal Cell Cancer Q & A

What is basal cell cancer?

Basal cell carcinoma or basal cell cancer is a form of skin cancer that grows slowly and is unlikely to spread if you detect it early. It develops when the DNA within certain skin cells changes because of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. 

A basal cell is one of a few different cell types within the epidermis, your skin’s top layer. When its DNA changes, it starts to grow abnormally and uncontrollably. 

What does basal cell cancer look like?

Lesions that may be basal cell cancer usually appear in areas that get a lot of sun, like your face, neck, or arms. Appearances vary, but the skin cancer might show some of these features:

  • Redness
  • Shininess
  • A slight elevation
  • Waxiness
  • Oozing
  • Crusting 
  • Bleeding

In general, you should come to ERderm for an evaluation and possible biopsy of any new or evolving skin lesion. Even if cancer isn’t your first thought when you see it, the wide variance in basal cell carcinoma features makes it challenging to identify without professional help. 

Is basal cell cancer treatable?

As long as you catch it early, basal cell cancer is treatable and curable. There are a few different types of surgery and several topical medications that can remove basal cell cancer that has not yet spread to areas other than your skin, including excision, cryosurgery, and laser treatment. 

Mohs surgery is the preferred approach for basal cell cancer treatment when the ERderm team cannot determine the exact size of the lesion, when it’s in a delicate area with thin skin, or when you want to preserve as much skin as possible. Mohs surgery happens over the course of a single office visit, and your surgeon removes one small layer of the lesion at a time. 

After removing a layer, your surgeon examines it under a microscope to see how many cancer cells are in the sample and where to cut from next. They repeat this process until they remove all cancerous cells while keeping the surrounding and underlying skin intact. 

How can I prevent basal cell cancer?

Your genetics might leave you more vulnerable than the general population to developing basal cell cancer and other forms of skin cancer, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to lower your chances of getting it. Since UV light exposure from the sun is the top risk factor for basal cell cancer, taking the following steps reduces your risk:

  • Using a broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy
  • Reapplying your sunscreen every two hours or when you sweat it off
  • Wearing protective attire, like sunglasses, hats, and long sleeves
  • Primarily sitting in the shade while outside
  • Avoiding tanning beds, which use UV light

If you’re at a particularly high risk for skin cancer of any kind, the ERderm team offers skin cancer screenings as a preventive service. 

Don’t hesitate to book your evaluation or basal cell cancer screening at ERderm by phone or online today.