What Are the Stages of Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Dermatologist using a professional electrocautery for removing molePatients who have been diagnosed with skin cancer often have a lot of questions to ask their dermatological team. The doctors at the Skin and Beauty Center of California can evaluate patients for basal cell carcinoma, perform a biopsy, offer a diagnosis, and discuss possible treatment options. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that usually starts as a small, painless lump on the head, neck, or shoulders. If left untreated, this tumor can grow and spread to other parts of the body.

What Are the Stages of Basal Cell Carcinoma?

There are three main stages of basal cell carcinoma: early-stage disease, locally advanced disease, and metastatic disease.

  • Early-stage disease. During the first stage of basal cell carcinoma, the tumor is typically small and has not reached deeper layers of the skin. Early-stage treatment options include surgery to remove the tumor and radiation therapy.
  • Locally advanced disease. During locally advanced disease, which typically occurs after several years with no treatment or if an earlier treatment was unsuccessful, the tumor has grown deeper into the underlying tissue and may have started to spread to nearby lymph nodes. Treatment options at this stage include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Metastatic disease. In the final stage of basal cell carcinoma, also known as metastatic disease, the tumor has spread throughout the body, including places such as the lungs or liver. Treatment options at this stage typically involve a combination of different types of therapies, including surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies like immunotherapy or targeted drugs. Keep in mind that it is very rare for BCC to spread elsewhere — it takes many years and usually happens to people who have severely compromised immune systems.

What Treatment Is Best for Me in California?

If you have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, seek treatment right away in order to minimize the potential risks associated with this cancer and achieve the best possible outcome. Talk to your doctor at the Skin and Beauty Center about your specific treatment options and what steps you can take to help prevent or manage this condition. We have convenient locations throughout California and are open to new and returning patients.

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