Patients who have been diagnosed with carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, are encouraged to seek treatment immediately, as early treatment is likely to result in a full recovery. The two main types of carcinomas of the skin are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The most common and effective treatment for both types of carcinoma is surgical excision, but other treatments may be used based upon the location of the cancer and the patient’s medical history. Dr. Dyson is a trained and experienced board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologists in Tucson, AZ. Removing carcinomas is one of her specialties.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is one of the most common types of skin cancers present today. Fortunately, it seldom spreads to other parts of the body and is highly treatable. The most common cause of BCC is UV exposure (from the sun or from using sunbeds) and most often occurs on exposed areas such as the face, head, ears, neck, and backs of the hands. Basal cell carcinomas often look like scabs that do not seem to heal and may occasionally bleed. They may be lumpy with a shiny surface, or appear as a flat red mark. The most common treatment is surgical treatment. The surgical treatment might be a simple excision in which the affected skin and a small amount of skin around it is removed or Mohs surgery where the carcinoma is removed in stages until the entire tumor is removed. Other treatments may include topical creams, curettage and cautery (in which the BCC is scraped from the skin and the surface is then sealed), cryotherapy (freezing the BCC with liquid nitrogen), and radiotherapy. These treatments may be recommended to you by Dr. Dyson if surgical excision is not possible due to the location of the BCC or because of other medical conditions from which the patient suffers.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is slightly less common than BCC and is highly treatable if detected and treated early. If left untreated, the cancer may spread to other parts of the body and become a serious medical condition. SCC is also most commonly caused by UV exposure and typically appears in the same areas as BCC. SCC may appear as a scaly or crusty area on the skin with a pronounced red area. The cancer is not painful, but if you have any of these symptoms, they should be checked by Dr. Dyson as soon as possible to determine if the lesion is cancerous and requires treatment. As with BCC, the most common treatments for this type of skin cancer is surgical treatment including Mohs surgery. Curettage and cautery and cryotherapy are also sometimes used to treat squamous cell carcinoma.
If you have noticed any skin irregularities, be sure to come and see Dr. Dyson immediately. With proper treatment, carcinomas are rarely a serious threat to your health; however, left untreated, they may become a serious health issue. In her Tucson office, Dr. Dyson has a pathology lab that allows her to evaluate skin biopsies for the diagnosis of skin cancers, evaluate tissue after excision of carcinomas, and evaluate specimen removed during Mohs surgery. She encourages anyone who is experiencing a skin abnormality to make an appointment to make sure treatment, if needed, is provided as soon as possible. Call our office (520) 383-0777 or fill out an online form to get in touch with a staff member and set an appointment with Dr. Dyson.