Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a very common skin cancer in Caucasians. Although rarely life-threatening, it can be locally destructive and consumes a considerable amount of health expenditure. Treatments that are safe, cost-effective and can be carried out in primary care with a high cure rate and good cosmetic results for selected cases of BCC need to be explored.
This retrospective study was carried out to assess whether cryosurgery is a reasonable option for treating select cases of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) in primary care under local anaesthetic by an expert cryosurgeon.
The treatment and outcome of 184 consecutive, histologically diagnosed BCCs in 138 patients in one primary care setting over a 5-year period was analysed.
One hundred (54%) BCCs were treated with cryosurgery, 57 (31%) treated by excision in primary care, 13 (7%) by photodynamic therapy (PDT), 12 (7%) by referral to plastic surgery mostly for flaps or grafts and 2 (1%) by imiquimod 5%.
Just over half of all BCCs in this survey were treated using cryosurgery (100 = 54%) and 79 were followed up for more than 5 years. The cure rate with cryosurgery was 95% after 5 years (95% CI, 0.8686-0.9837) with an excellent or good cosmetic outcome in 92%.