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The treatments for basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Surgery: Several types of surgery are available for treating basal cell carcinoma. The type of surgery chosen depends upon the risk of recurrence. These include:
  • Mohs surgery: Mohs surgery involves removing the affected skin layer and analyzing it under the microscope for cancer cells. If cancer cells are present, another layer of skin is removed. The process continues unless the layer with no cancer cells is obtained. It is generally used for basal cell carcinoma with a high risk of recurrence.
  • Surgical excision: Surgical excision involves the removal of cancerous lesions by cutting the skin. The healthy tissue margins are also removed to lower the risk of recurrence.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is generally recommended before or after surgery. If used before surgery, it shrinks the size of the tumor. Radiation therapy kills the remaining cancer cells if used after the surgery. It is also a treatment option for patients not eligible for surgery. In addition, it significantly lowers the risk of cancer recurrence.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is not usually used to manage basal cell carcinoma, as the disease does not generally reach the advanced stage. However, targeted drug therapy is the preferred option for patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma. In addition, chemotherapy might sometimes be used when the other treatment options are ineffective.
  • Targeted therapy: Certain molecular signals transmitted into the cancer cells cause the growth, division, and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapy blocks these molecular signals and causes the death of cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy enhances the action of the immune system against cancer cells. The drugs, administered as a part of immunotherapy, inhibit the processes that prevent the action of immune system cells on cancer cells.
  • Photodynamic therapy: This technique may treat patients not eligible for surgery. The technique involves the use of photosensitizing drugs and a light source. First, the drug is injected into the body in the deactivated form. Then, once the drug reaches the cancer site, it is activated through the light source.
  • Cryosurgery: Freezing the cancer cells is a treatment option in patients with thin and small basal cell carcinomas who cannot undergo surgery. The technique involves killing cancer cells by freezing them through liquid nitrogen.
  • Topical treatments: Topical ointments and creams comprising chemotherapy drugs may also be used in patients with thin and small basal cell carcinomas.
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation: This technique is used for treating the small basal carcinomas of the chest, back, feet, and hands that have a very low risk of recurrence. The technique involves the removal of the skin cancer surface and searing the cancer base through the electrical needle.

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