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Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers

Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment

Over 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed nationwide each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Skin Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

The best screening for skin cancer is a self-exam of your skin. Any signs or symptoms should be discussed with your physician. Diagnosis is then confirmed through pathology tests of the tissue.

If a diagnosis of skin cancer is made, a physician will determine the severity or stage of the cancer, including whether it has spread to other areas of the body.

Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the two most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancers. Both are highly curable when treated early. Most of these cases are treated by physicians in NorthShore’s Division of Dermatology and Surgical Oncology, which are key collaborators with the Kellogg Cancer Center. Expert dermatologists are critical in the identification and biopsy of suspicious moles, and these physicians make the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Dermatologists, often in collaboration with surgeons, treat patients with early stages of these carcinomas. These physicians partner closely with Kellogg in instances where these cancers are in late stages, or when a consultation with a medical oncologist is needed to create a treatment plan for advanced basal or squamous cell carcinoma.

At NorthShore, patients diagnosed with basal and squamous cell carcinomas  have access to expert dermatologists who are experienced in Mohs micrographic surgery. This surgery is sometimes recommended for basal and squamous cell carcinomas. The procedure involves removing very thin layers of skin one at a time and then examining the layer under a microscope. The process is repeated until all cancer-containing tissue has been removed. Mohs is particularly useful for cosmetically sensitive areas such as the face and neck, and for tumors that are poorly defined with unclear borders.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.