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Skin cancer surgeon John B. Harris, MD, diagnoses basal cell carcinoma with a skin cancer biopsy and BCC surgery in Jacksonville, FL

We diagnose basal cell carcinoma with a skin cancer biopsy then remove the basal cell cancer with MOFS surgery (Multiple Oriented Frozen Section) surgery, or if necessary, the use of Mohs pathology. We’re happy to discuss this with you during the decision-making phase of your treatment.

What is basal cell carcinoma?

A basal cell carcinoma:

  • Is the most common type of skin cancer
  • Represents almost 75% of the 1M new skin cancers diagnosed in the U.S. annually
  • Tends to grow very slowly and very rarely spreads to other parts of the body
  • Tends to grow locally and can cause significant tissue damage and destruction through its direct extension if not completely surgically removed

Risk factors include:

  • Chronic sun exposure
  • Indoor tanning
  • Fair complexion
  • Previous exposure to radiation treatment

The most common appearance of basal cell carcinoma is:

  • A non-pigmented nodule with a central depression area and surrounding rolled up border
  • A possible scaling lesion with ulceration and bleeding

Most basal cell cancers may be removed at the FSCC with standard surgical excision with permanent pathology to ensure complete removal. For large basal cell cancers and those occurring on the face, your FSCC surgeon may recommend MOFS surgery (Multiple Oriented Frozen Section surgery), or if necessary, Mohs pathology to ensure complete removal. 

How is basal cell carcinoma diagnosed?

To diagnose basal cell carcinoma, the surest way is to perform a punch biopsy of the suspicious lesion for histopathological interpretation. The pathologist or dermatopathologist will evaluate your biopsy under the microscope to determine the results. Dr. Harris prefers a punch biopsy diagnosis versus a shave biopsy because the latter may leave large scars, which would be unnecessary if the biopsy is negative for basal cell cancer. Shaved biopsies also leave large areas of redness while healing, making the delineation of the area for skin cancer removal more difficult and may result in longer incisions. 

Finding Dr. John B. Harris, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for my skin cancer, was a blessing. He noticed a spot on the end of my nose. The initial biopsy indicated a fast growing Basal Cell cancer that needed immediate surgery. Dr. Harris performed the surgery with a mobile lab on standby to monitor the extent of the cancer. The surgery required removal of deep skin cancer, but he skillfully closed the incision and gave me a perfect nose again. Though the healing process was difficult, my care was amazing. Dr. Harris and his staff are gentle, kind, and exceptionally attentive. My friends at Vicar’s compliment his work, and I have recommended his practice to several friends and family members.
D. A.

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