Can chemical peels remove precancerous basal cells to reduce the number of future basal cell cancers?

I get about 4 or 5 basal cancers per year what can I do to reduce these numbers.? Mohs is taking its toll on my poor face.

Doctor Answers 3

Photodynamic Therapy for precancerous cells.

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Hello horsewreck,

Talk to your dermatologist about PDT. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses special drugs, called photosensitizing agents, along with light to kill cancer cells. PDT can help clear the skin of actinic keratoses which are premalignant growths in sun-exposed areas, mainly the face, chest, arms and hands. It is also effective for moderate to severe acne. Hope this helps.

Chemical peels

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Chemical peels do not penetrate deep enough to remove or reduce precancerous basal cells. I would suggest you to talk to your provider about Photodynamic therapy or PDT. It has been used to successfully remove cancer cells. Good luck!

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Photodynamic Therapy for Precancerous Lesions

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The majority of chemical peels will not go deep enough to remove precancerous lesions, and even more aggressive peels such as those containing high percentages of TCA are generally not the most effective route.

Removing multiple, sizeable skin cancers via Mohs surgery can certainly take a toll on one’s skin, therefore I recommend patients like you who have multiple lesions on large surface areas be treated with photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy involves applying a photosensitizing acid to the skin, leaving it on for a period time, and then exposing the skin to certain wavelengths of light and/or laser. The combination of the acid and lights and/or laser is able to penetrate deep within the skin, and effectively kill precancerous cells. Following treatment, patients must avoid sun exposure for 48 hours, and repeat treatment in 4-6 weeks several times for the best result.

Be sure to consult with a board certified Dermatologist about your treatment options. Best of luck!

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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