Basal Cell Skin Cancer / Carcinoma
Basal cell skin cancer or carcinoma
is the most common form of skin cancer. Here, skin cells in the
basal layer of the epidermis - cells which can form hair, sebaceous
glands, and sweat glands - become tumorous.
Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The symptoms of this cancer include:
- Small bump
- Smooth or waxy in appearance
- Pink or white in color
- May form an ulcer or sore as it grows
- Slowly growing
In rare cases, basal cell skin cancer can take the appearance
- Small, red spot with fine border
- A sore on the skin that persists, heals, and then recurs
- Spontaneous scar that is not caused by injury
Basal cell skin cancer is commonly found in the:
Who Gets Basal Cell Skin Cancer?
Affecting about 1 million people, basal cell skin cancer is the
most common form of skin cancer. People with light skin are more
predisposed to developing this cancer. Indeed, white men have
a 33% to 39% and white women have a 23% to 28% chance of developing
this form of skin cancer.
This form of skin cancer rarely occurs in black people or those
with darker skin.
How Can It Be Prevented?
As with any other sun-induced skin damage, basal cell skin cancer
can be prevented by:
- Avoiding too much sun exposure and sunburns
- Avoiding suntanning
- Applying lotion with SPF (sun protection factor) 15 or higher
- Wearing protective clothings and hats
Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatments?
The cancerous basal cell carcinoma growth needs to be removed
- Curettage and electrodessication
Here, the growth is scraped with a spoon-shaped blade called
a curette and then exposed to the heat from electric current.
- Surgical excision with scalpel
- Mohs' Surgery
Here the doctor shaves away the cancer one skin layer at a time.
Microscopic examination is made on each shaved layers, until
no more cancerous cells are found. By using this technique,
the surgeon can try to remove all the cancer cells while conserving
as many healthy cells as possible.
Mohs' surgical technique is commonly used on skin cancers in
the face, where the smallest possible scar is wanted.
Care should be used when removing all cancerous cells - if some
are inadvertently left, the cancer can recur within 5 years.
Basal cell skin cancer is usually not fatal. When detected early,
the cure rate of this skin cancer is an encouraging 95%.