It’s not something at the moment we can cure. It’s something that we need to monitor continually so that when these cancers crop up we can minimize the damage
New analysis suggests that for some people with high risk factors, basal cell carcinoma is a chronic disease.
High sun exposure before the age of 30 was a major predictor, as was a history of eczema.
“Basal cell carcinoma is a chronic disease once people have had multiple instances of it, because they are always at risk of getting more,” says Martin Weinstock, professor of dermatology in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, who practices at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“It’s not something at the moment we can cure. It’s something that we need to monitor continually so that when these cancers crop up we can minimize the damage.”
Dermatologists hold out hope for a medication that will help prevent recurrences of BCC. To test one such medicine, Weinstock chaired the six-site, six-year VA Topical Tretinoin Chemoprevential Trial, which last year found that the skin medication failed to prevent further instances of BCC in high-risk patients.