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July 1, 1974

Basal Cell Carcinoma

JAMA. 1974;229(1):23. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230390015006

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To the Editor.—  With respect to the letter on an aggressive approach to basal cell carcinoma (228:463, 1974) by Drs. Brodkin, Bleiberg, and Abbey, I voice a disagreement from their opinion.They asked the question, "Why do intelligent physicians offer such advice?" and the advice was not to, at that moment, treat the apparent basal cell carcinoma present.Basal cell carcinoma is no different from any other diagnosis encountered in giving medical care. One never takes action on the diagnosis simply because it is there. Treatment is directed toward eliminating or preventing problems related to the disease state. If the disease is neither producing problems, nor is likely to produce problems, physicians have no business treating it simply because it is there. In many instances, basal cell carcinoma is extremely slow-growing, is producing no significant cosmetic impairment, even though on the face, and is unlikely to cause discomfort or bleeding.