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April 22, 1974

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Author Affiliations

New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry Irvington

JAMA. 1974;228(4):463-464. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230290019017

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To the Editor.—  We have recently observed a case in which a physician advised a patient against removal of a basal cell carcinoma because it was "not a serious tumor." A related episode of severe hemorrhage almost required transfusion. A brief description of the case might persuade such advisors to change attitudes.

Report of a Case.—  A 74-year-old retired physician had been incapacitated by a cerebrovascular accident for several years. Although numerous subspecialists attended his many medical problems, his overall care was supervised by a devoted brother, an internist of surpassing stature in the area where he practices. The brother had repeatedly advised the patient's family to disregard the ulcerated tumor on the patient's left temple as medically insignificant and cosmetically unimportant. After repeated episodes of bleeding, the family finally prevailed upon him to have the lesion removed. The tumor was a 2.5×3-cm fungating mass that was removed by currettage