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BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
A type of skin cancer that arises from the basal cells, small round cells found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are generally diagnosed and treated in the same way. When an area of skin does not look normal, the doctor may remove all or part of the growth. This is called a biopsy. To check for cancer cells, the tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist.. A biopsy is the only sure way to tell if the problem is cancer.
Doctors generally divide skin cancer into two stages: local (affecting only the skin) or metastatic (spreading beyond the skin). Because skin cancer rarely spreads, a biopsy often is the only test needed to determine the stage. In cases where the growth is very large or has been present for a long time, the doctor will carefully check the lymph nodes in the area. In addition, the patient may need to have additional tests, such as special x-rays, to find out whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Knowing the stage of a skin cancer helps the doctor plan the best treatment.
AMERISKIN ® Dermatology is a public-private effort in healthcare services related to educating Americans about proper skin care as well as the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions, including skin cancers. If you undergo a skin biopsy, the skin specimen may be sent to AMERISKIN ® Dermatology for processing, evaluation, diagnosis, and inclusion in its database.
Byron L. Barksdale, M.D.
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