Patient's Complete Guide to Basal Cell Carcinoma

Overview of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma results from the abnormal growth of the basal cells. These cells are located in the lining of the epidermis. It affects various areas of the skin, especially the face.

Signs and Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer resulting from abnormal growth of basal cells in the epidermis layer. These cells produce within the skin and replace the old cells with new ones. As the basal cells form a tumour that appears on the skin's surface. Tumour of basal cells produces sores, growths, bumps, scars or red patches mainly in head or neck areas.
Basal cell carcinoma does not metastasize to other areas but in rare cases, it can be possible. If it expands to other areas, then it would be life-threatening for patients.
Mostly the cancer is caused by the exposure of UV light from sunlight. Sunscreen is the best approach to reduce the incidence of basal cell carcinoma.

Prevalence of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Nearly 8 out of 10 cases were reported of basal cell cancers worldwide.
Between the years of 2000-2010, the average occurrence rate of men is around 67.6% of and women is about 62.7%.
The survival rate is much higher than other skin cancers that are about 85-95% without recurrence.

Types of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Nearly, basal cell carcinoma occurs on the different parts of the body due to frequent skin exposure. Main regions of the body include the face, ears, shoulders, neck, scalp, and arms.
These types of tumours are typically painless. The only sign of basal cell carcinoma is growth or change in the appearance of the skin. There are different types of basal cell carcinoma which are characterized by their different appearance.

  • Pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma: The lesions appear as brown, blue, or black coloured. Also, they have translucent and raised borders.
  • Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma: In this type, the reddish patches appear on the skin, which is often flat and scaly. As they continue to grow, then show as a raised edge. Back or chest area is mainly affected by these lesions.
  • Nonulcerative Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type appears as a translucent white-coloured lesion on the skin. These lesions often contain blood vessels which are visible underneath the skin. This is one of the common types of Basal cell carcinoma. They appear on the neck, ears, and face that can rupture, bleed, and ooze out from them.
  • Morpheaform Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of basal cell carcinoma is the least common among all. The white scar-like lesions with no defined border and waxy appearance forms on the different areas of the skin. This type is primarily very invasive and may be fatal for people.
  • Basosquamous Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of carcinoma is a combination of both traits basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It rarely exists but can metastasize more than other types of skin cancer.

Risk Factors of Basal Cell Carcinoma

The UV light is the main cause of basal cell carcinoma which leads to hyperpigmentation. This ultimately causes tanning to the skin.
As the UV rays target the skin, over time, they start to damage the DNA in skin cells. The DNA contains the instructions for the growth of cells.
Frequent damage to DNA can cause cancer after years.

Prevention

Factors that may increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Frequent sun exposures such as the people are living in hot climatic conditions.
  • Radiation therapy for the treatment of acne or other skin conditions.
  • White skin tone people are at higher risk than the darker tone.
  • As the age increases with time, the risk of basal cell carcinoma is getting higher that's why it is more likely to occur in older people. But it affects younger people between the ages of 20 to 30 years.
  • People who have a personal or family history of skin cancer.
  • Some people are taking immune-suppressing drugs such as anti-rejection drugs used after transplant surgery may increase the risk of cancer.
  • Exposures to arsenic metal are another factor that may have a chance to increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • The certain genetic disease may cause skin cancer including nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin-Goltz syndrome) and xeroderma pigmentosum.

Health Complications of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Following are the complications of basal cell carcinoma in which includes:

  • Basal cell carcinomas usually have a risk of recurrence even after the successful treatment.
  • If a person had a basal cell carcinoma history then it may have a chance of producing other skin cancer types such as squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Rarely, cancer spreads to the lymph nodes area and other types of the body that cause complications of the skin.

Diagnosis

In order to prevent cancer, the following steps are taken:

  • Avoid the sunlight especially during the middle of the day.
  • Apply sunscreen on the exposed skin of the body when a person goes out.
  • Wear full covered clothes in which less exposure of skin to sunlight.
  • Avoid tanning beds because it emits UV rays.

Treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma | When to Consult a Doctor

A Dermatologist will visually inspect the skin lesions or changes in skin through torchlight. After a doctor asks the questions regarding the symptoms, medical and family history.
Some of them are as follows:

When did you observe skin growth or lesions?
When do these lesions first develop?
Have you felt any changings in skin growth since your first day?
Have you felt any pain in the lesions?
Have you had a history of other skin cancer?
Has anyone in your family had any kind of skin cancer?
Do you take any preventive measures to reduce the lesions?
Do you examine your skin regularly?

After completion of the question session, a dermatologist will first examine the suspected areas of the skin. Then also check other areas of the body. To confirm its diagnosis, a doctor may recommend the skin biopsy test.

  • Skin Biopsy

Skin biopsy is a procedure in which a small fragment of the lesion from the skin is scraped off for testing. Then observe it under a light microscope. The test results reveal the type of cancer or any other skin abnormalities on the basis of type and size of the lesion.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Basal Cell Carcinoma

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Speciality for Basal Cell Carcinoma

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