Basal Cell Carcinoma in Columbus, OH
If you notice an odd bump or area of scaly, brown skin, you may have basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that is caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. Fortunately, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of basal cell carcinoma for residents of Columbus and Upper Arlington.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
The basal cells of the skin are responsible for making new skin cells as older cells die. Abnormalities in these cells may indicate basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that most often develops on areas that are routinely exposed to the sun, such as the face and hands. The condition is most often diagnosed in patients who:
- Spend a significant amount of time in the sun without sunscreen
- Use tanning beds
- Have a family history of skin cancer
- Take medications that are known to suppress the immune system
The condition occurs most frequently in men, patients who are 50 or older and those with fair skin.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Benefits
Early detection and treatment for basal cell carcinoma may:
- Reduce the likelihood of a recurrence
- Decrease your risk for developing other types of skin cancer
Certain types of basal cell carcinomas can be aggressive and may spread to neighboring tissues, such as bone, nerves and muscles.
What Areas Can Be Treated for Basal Cell Carcinoma?
As a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Hicks-Graham specializes in treatments for basal cell carcinoma that is found on any area of the body and face. The treatment protocol is based less on the location of the growth and more on the stage of cancer cell development.
What Can I Expect From Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment?
The goal of basal cell carcinoma treatment is to remove the cancerous cells, as well as a small margin of healthy skin cells. By achieving “clean margins,” Dr. Hicks-Graham ensures that all cancer cells are removed. She may recommend treating basal cell carcinoma via:
- Mohs surgery that involves removing thin layers of skin cells until only healthy tissue is removed
- Medications to complement other medical interventions
- Surgery to excise, or cut away the cancerous growth
- Electrodesiccation and curettage, also known as ED&C to scrape away the surface of the growth and treat the remaining cancer cells with an electric needle
- Freezing to destroy the cancer cells
- Topical medications for mild cases in which the cancer cells have not reached the deeper layers of skin
Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Preparation
When you meet with Dr. Hicks-Graham for a consultation, you should be ready to provide the following information:
- When you first noticed the abnormal growth or discolored area of skin
- The amount of time you routinely spend in the sun
- Measures that you consistently take to protect your skin when outdoors
- Family history of skin cancer and other medical conditions
- Your current medications, including any supplements
Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Recovery
If Dr. Hicks-Graham determines that a surgical procedure, such as Mohs, ED&C, freezing or surgery is needed to treat your basal cell carcinoma, she will provide detailed instructions on what to expect before and after the procedure. Once she performs the procedure, we will give you aftercare instructions and set up your follow-up appointments.
We recommend that you take extra precautions when you spend time outdoors because your basal cell carcinoma diagnosis indicates that you are at risk for developing the condition. We can provide recommendations on sunscreens and other ways to limit your sun exposure.
How Much Does Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Cost?
Most medical insurances cover the cost of basal cell carcinoma treatment, but you will be responsible for a co-payment, deductible and co-insurance. We will work with your insurance carrier to provide an estimate of your portion of the total cost, but we will not know an accurate amount until the claim is processed by the insurance company. You can pay your portion via cash, check or major credit card. Financing is available through CareCredit®.
Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Right for Me?
Basal cell carcinoma most often appears as a:
- Bump with a waxy or pearl-colored appearance
- Flat area of discolored skin that may be brown or similar in color to the surrounding skin
- A scar-like appearance that is waxy and white
If you have an area of your skin that resembles any of these early signs of basal cell carcinoma, you should be evaluated by Dr. Hicks-Graham.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Consultation
Basal cell carcinoma can be safely and effectively treated when it is diagnosed in the early stages. If you believe that you have an area of your skin that may be basal cell carcinoma, contact us to schedule a consultation.
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that is most often caused by excessive sun exposure. The cancer can be aggressive, so we recommend that people in the Columbus and Upper Arlington area be evaluated by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham.