Cancer is complex — there is no routine basal cell carcinoma, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are renowned in research and patient care. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, basal cell carcinoma patients have a team of experts spanning a broad range of medical disciplines, including dermatologists, molecular and biological pathologists, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

Using advanced diagnostic tools such as Dermoscopy, full body photography and MelaFind, the OSUCCC – James skin cancer experts offer highly specialized treatments, including:

  • Investigational Therapies: Featuring improved effectiveness and decreased toxicity
  • Other Treatments: Including photodynamic therapy (PDT), cryosurgery, topical therapies, Mohs micrographic surgery, surgical removal and lymph node evaluation

As one of only a few cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options —many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for basal cell carcinoma. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual basal cell carcinoma. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Why the OSUCCC – James

  • Subspecialized team of world-renowned experts with a high volume of treatment for pre-malignant through advanced metastatic disease
  • Compassion and excellence in care, as reflected by achieving the highly prestigious Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Ability to diagnose and treat each cancer at the molecular level with targeted therapies personalized with pinpoint accuracy for each patient
  • Customized prevention strategies based on family health history and personal risk factors
  • Research excellence that translates to clinical excellence) with a strong discovery-to-treatment focus
  • Patient access to some of the most innovative therapies and technologies in the world
  • Experts who pioneer standards for minimally invasive surgical techniques

Treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma

There are several types of treatment available for basal cell carcinoma.


Surgery may be used to treat basal cell carcinoma. Types of surgery include:

Mohs Micrographic Surgery

The doctor removes the cancer from the skin in thin layers and each layer is analyzed for cancer cells under a microscope during surgery. The doctor continues to remove one layer at a time until removing a layer with no evidence of cancer cells.

Simple Excision

The doctor removes the skin cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.

Electrodesiccation and Curettage

A doctor removes the tumor from the skin with a sharp tool shaped like a spoon. A small electrode applies electric current to the affected area to stop bleeding and destroy remaining cancer cells.


A doctor freezes the abnormal tissue to destroy cells using a special instrument.

Although basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads (metastasizes) to another area of the body or cannot be treated with local therapy, the patient may receive chemotherapy or treatment in a clinical trial.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Most radiation is delivered from a machine outside your body that is targeted directly at the cancer cells.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by destroying the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. Chemotherapy for basal cell carcinoma usually is applied to the skin as a cream or lotion, which is called topical chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may be used for basal cell carcinoma that is metastatic (has spread to other organs) or when the skin cancer cannot be treated with local therapy.


Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, helps boost a patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Interferon may be injected to help treat basal cell carcinoma by slowing the growth of cancer cells.

If basal cell carcinoma spreads to another area of the body (metastasizes) or cannot be treated with local therapy, the patient usually receives chemotherapy or treatment in a clinical trial.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Basal Cell Carcinoma Research & Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

Additionally, Ohio State has more than 330 cancer researchers who collectively represent 11 of the 15 colleges at the university, dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

If you have received a basal cell carcinoma diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a basal cell carcinoma specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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