What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma is found to be the most commonly occurring cancer in the world. It is a slow growing tumor for which metastases is rare, basal cell carcinoma can be locally
destructive. There is an overall risk of 20 to 30 percent. It occurs with highest frequency among the Caucasian and elderly population.
Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as flesh or pink colored papules or patches and occurs on the head and neck. It can also appear as a slight protuberance on skin usually on face. But can occur on any part of body, including trunk, legs, and arms. Ulceration can also be seen. It begins in the basal cells-a type of cell that produces new skin cells as old ones die. It is anonmelanocytic skin cancer.
Australia has the highest incidence of Basal cell carcinoma in world. Tumors left untreated can cause tissue destruction, disfigurement, infiltrate cartilage, muscle or bone with intracranial extensions. BCCs may also develop in scars or nevi and are associated with several syndromes
including Gorlin’s syndrome, Xeroderma pigmentosa, Bazex syndrome, and albinism.
There are several subtypes of BCC: nodular, cystic, superficial, sclerosing, keratotic, pigmented,and micronodular.
Aetiology of BCC is multifactorial and is combination of genotype, phenotype, and
environmental factors. Ultraviolet radiation is one of the most common factors .Other risk
factors are age above 40, use of sun bed, phototherapy, radiotherapy, male sex, and arsenic exposure. People with Fair skin are also at increased risk of developing BCC.
What is the Symptoms of Carcinoma
A skin growth of dome shape that has blood vessels. It can be pink, brown, or black.
At first basal cell carcinoma looks like a small “pearly” bump that looks like a flesh colored mole or a pimple that doesn’t go away. Sometimes these growths appear black, shiny pink or red patches that might be scaly. Another symptom to watch out for BCC is a waxy, hard skin growth. Basal cell carcinoma is also fragile and can bleed easily.
Different Causes of Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma occurs when skin’s basal cells develops mutation in its DNA. They are found at the bottom of epidermis-the outermost layer of skin. IT produce new skin cells. Basal cell’s DNA controls the process of creating new skin cells. The DNA of basal cell contains the information that tells a cell what to do. The mutation that occurs tells the basal cells to multiply rapidly and continue its growth when it would normally die. Eventually the accumulating abnormal cells form a cancerous tumor-the lesion that appears on the skin.
Following Risk factors Carcinoma
1. Chronic sun exposure.
2. Radiation therapy.
3. Fair skin.
4. Increasing age.
5. A personal or family history of skin cancer.
6. Immune-suppressing drugs.
7. Exposure to arsenic.
8. Inherited syndrome that cause skin cancer.
Various Complications of Carcinoma
• A risk of recurrence. Basal cell carcinoma commonly recurs, even after successful
• An increased risk of skin cancer. A history of basal cell carcinoma may also increase the
chance of developing other types of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma.
• Cancer that spreads beyond the skin. Rarely, basal cell carcinoma can spread to nearby
lymph nodes and other areas of the body, such as the lungs and bones.
Your doctor will look at skin for growths. He may also ask questions such as:
• Did you spend a lot of time in the sun while you were growing up?
• Did you have blistering sun burns?
• Do you use sunscreen?
• Have you ever used tanning beds?
• Have you had unusual bleeding spots on your skin that don’t heal?
Usually diagnosis is made on clinical ground .Clinical features are dependent on the subtype of BCC. Nodular or cystic BCCs present as raised red papules, pearly, translucent lesions with peripheral telangiectasia. Superficial BCC may appear as discoid eczema or Bowen’s disease whilst sclerosing BCC presents as scar-like plaque. Dermatology, computed tomography or magnetic resonance, skin biopsy is performed in majority of cases to aid diagnosis.
Questions for doctor
• What kind of treatment do you suggest?
• Can drugs help treat my condition?
• Will I need surgery?
• How can I prevent from getting skin cancer again?
Who Will You Treatment
The goal of treatment is to get rid of cancer while leaving as small a scar as possible. To choose the best treatment, your doctor will consider the size, shape and place of the cancer, and how long you’ve had it. He’ll also take in account the chance of scarring, and your overall health.
There are some of the treatment options your doctor may suggest such as:
Excision First numb the tumor and skin around it. Then scrap the tumor. Cut the tumor and a small surrounding area of normal-appearing skin and send it to lab if the lab results show there are cancerous cells, your doctor may need to remove more of your skin.
Curettage and desiccation First doctor will numb the skin. Then he uses a curette, to scrape off the tumor.Cryosurgery Doctor kills the cancerous cells by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.Radiation Therapy this treatment uses X-rays to destroy cancerous cells.
Mohs Surgery in this surgeon removes your tumor layer by layer.
Creams and Pills two creams that you put on your skin are:
There may also be a pill that your doctor might prescribe:
How to Prevention
To reduce risk of basal cell carcinoma you can:
• Avoid the sun . In many places sunrays are strongest between about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Wear sunscreen year-round. Use sunscreen. With broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30.
• Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with dark and tightly woven clothing that
covers your whole body.
• Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV rays and can increase risk of skin cancer.
• Check your skin regularly and report changes in the skin to your doctor.
Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to other parts of body and the treatment for BCC is almost always successful. It’s important to look skin for unusual growths and get them checked by your doctor.
Emaan has been working with writing challenged clients for over 1 year. She provides writing and editing services.Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.