What Should I Expect With Treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma?

If you’ve been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, you might be wondering what your treatment will be like. Your best source of information is your physician, who can provide individualized guidance based on your unique situation.

In general, there are several potentially effective treatment options for basal cell carcinoma, and most can be completed on an outpatient basis. Your physician can help you find the best approach for you after carefully considering the characteristics of your skin tumor, as well as your age, general health and preferences.

How can basal cell carcinoma be treated?

Some commonly used treatment approaches for basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Cryotherapy – A skin lesion is frozen with an application of liquid nitrogen, after which the abnormal cells will naturally slough off as the skin heals.
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation – After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, a physician uses a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to scrape away abnormal tissue, then uses an electric needle to control any bleeding.
  • Laser surgery – Using a highly focused beam of light, a surgeon vaporizes a superficial skin tumor.
  • Mohs surgery – A surgeon removes an entire tumor by cutting away one tissue layer at a time, evaluating each layer under a microscope for evidence of cancer before moving on to the next until there are no visible signs of cancer.
  • Standard surgery – A surgeon removes a well-defined tumor, along with some surrounding healthy tissue, by performing a standard surgical excision.
  • Radiation therapy – High-energy beams are targeted directly at a tumor to destroy cancerous cells.

If you would like to explore your basal cell carcinoma treatment options with an oncologist in the Cutaneous Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, you can do so with or without a referral. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online.