Last Updated on Dec 01, 2014

Treatment and Prognosis

Basal cell cancer is treated with microscopic surgery, radiotherapy, local injection of chemotherapy drugs or using cryotherapy.

Basal cell cancer or basal cell carcinoma is treated with excision of the cancer using microscopic surgery. Following surgery, the wound is closed in case of small cancers or repaired with plastic surgery in case of larger cancers. Excision should be complete to prevent the cancer from recurring.

Radiotherapy is also effective against this cancer, however it leaves bad scars. Hence it may be an option in old or infirm patients, especially those who have a life expectancy of less than 10 years.

Superficial cancers can also be treated with local injections of anticancer drugs like 5-fluorouracil and imiquimod or with cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is a procedure where the tissue is frozen and destroyed by exposing it to cold carbon dioxide. Cryotherapy is not a preferred option and may be used in selected cases only.

Prognosis Is generally good for treatment with complete cure. Death from basal cell cancer is rare and accounts for less than 0.1% of patient deaths due to cancer.

It rarely spreads to distant locations and the incidence of this is only 0.028 to 0.55%.

Prognosis or outcome of basal cell cancer is guarded in the following cases:

  • Large cancers more than 2 cm in width.
  • Location near the eye, nose and ear.
  • Ill-defined margins.
  • Recurrent cancers. Those located near the inner angle of the eye have the highest rate of recurrence.
  • Cancers occurring in patients with decreased immunity.


  1. Bailey and Love Short Practice of Surgery 25th edition.


ingrid37 Saturday, November 3, 2012

I was diagnosed with large basal cell ca tumor on ear last week. Recoomended partial resection of ear. Have noticed accellerated growth of nodule since taking methotrexate 15mg ea Friday for severe inflammation with RA. Should I proceed with surgery and what about continuing methotrexate....Rheumatologist says methotrexate is treatment for cancer, continue taking it. Thank you for your advice Ingrid Mullins

schmerr Monday, June 4, 2012

I have an ulcerated basal cell carcinoma near my eye. You mentioned the prognosis is worse if the bcc is near the eye. Why is this?

prema Thursday, July 21, 2011

very well written article covering all aspects of Rodent ulcer or basal cell cancer

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