JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Diagnosis and treatment of Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma

Jonathon M Firnhaber
American Family Physician 2012 July 15, 86 (2): 161-8
22962928
Family physicians are regularly faced with identifying, treating, and counseling patients with skin cancers. Nonmelanoma skin cancer, which encompasses basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, is the most common cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet B exposure is a significant factor in the development of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. The use of tanning beds is associated with a 1.5-fold increase in the risk of basal cell carcinoma and a 2.5-fold increase in the risk of squamous cell carcinoma. Routine screening for skin cancer is controversial. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force cites insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine whole-body skin examination to screen for skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma most commonly appears as a pearly white, dome-shaped papule with prominent telangiectatic surface vessels. Squamous cell carcinoma most commonly appears as a firm, smooth, or hyperkeratotic papule or plaque, often with central ulceration. Initial tissue sampling for diagnosis involves a shave technique if the lesion is raised, or a 2- to 4-mm punch biopsy of the most abnormal-appearing area of skin. Mohs micrographic surgery has the lowest recurrence rate among treatments, but is best considered for large, high-risk tumors. Smaller, lower-risk tumors may be treated with surgical excision, electrodesiccation and curettage, or cryotherapy. Topical imiquimod and fluorouracil are also potential, but less supported, treatments. Although there are no clear guidelines for follow-up after an index nonmelanoma skin cancer, monitoring for recurrence is prudent because the risk of subsequent skin cancer is 35 percent at three years and 50 percent at five years.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
22962928
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.