Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas are considered the most common type of skin cancer, nearly eight out of every 10 non-melanoma skin cancers. These cancers form within the basal cell layer of the skin.
Basal cell carcinoma generally occurs in sections of the skin that receive the most exposure to the sun, like the head, neck, face, arms, and back of the hands. These cancers are usually slow growing and normally do not spread or metastasize to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. However, the chance increases when left untreated. That is why early detection and treatment is so important.
Basal cell cancers can also return in the same place that the original cancer was found. Patients who have had basal cell carcinoma once have an increased risk of developing a new basal cell cancer elsewhere. Potentially, as many as 50 percent of these patients will develop a new basal cell carcinoma within five years of the first diagnosis.
Basal-cell carcinoma sometimes resemble non-cancerous skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. So, it is extremely important that the following warning signs be checked by a physician.
• Any open sore that bleeds, oozes, and crusts that will not heal for several weeks to a month is one of the most common signs of this disease.
• An irritated red spot usually seen on the face, neck, arms, or legs. It could be scaly, itch, and/or be painful, or at other times cause no discomfort.
• A shiny bump or nodule that can sometimes be confused with a mole. It can be pink, red, white, tan, brown, or black.
• A reddish growth, slightly elevated that is crusted and indented in the center.
• A scar-like area that is white, yellow, and/or is shiny, waxy, and with a poorly defined border. This area usually indicates the presence of an invasive basal-cell carcinoma that is larger than it appears to be on the surface.
Remember, basal-cell carcinoma is easily treated in the early stages, but the larger the infected area the more extreme the treatment. Sometimes we are our best physician when it comes to diagnosis, so please check your skin often and take any concerns to an expert immediately. It could save a great deal of pain and suffering.