Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is by far the most common cancer in the United States. More than 4 million new cases are diagnosed each year. The most frequent location for the condition is the sun-exposed sites of the head and neck, with the nose being the most common location. The classic basal cell carcinoma presents as a pearly or pink bump with increased blood vessels that bleed easy with minor trauma and never seems to fully heal (a pimple that won’t go away). Early basal cell carcinomas appear as a flat red or pink spot that may appear scaly and is often confused with eczema, psoriasis or other types of rashes that do not respond to normal treatment. More invasive basal cell carcinomas may appear as white waxy spots or
What Causes Basal Cell Carcinoma?
BCC is triggered by damage done by ultraviolet (UV) radiation either from the sun or tanning beds.
Who Is at Risk for Getting a Basal Cell Carcinoma?
These factor’s increase your risk of getting a basal cell carcinoma:
- Personal history of skin cancer – your chance to have a second skin cancer increases by 40-50%.
- If you are over the age of 50 your risk increases for a basal cell carcinoma, but Dermatologists diagnosis this type of cancer in patients in their 20-30’s.
- Chronic sun exposure and sunburns – this also includes the use of tanning beds, recreational exposure (golf, hiking, swimming), and exposure in outside occupations (lifeguards, farmers, oil riggers. ranchers).
- Fair skin, freckles, or inability to tan.
- Light-colored eyes (Blue, green or grey eyes).
- Blonde or red hair.
- Immunosuppression- HIV patients, organ transplant patients or on medications that suppress their immune systems.
Familyhistory of skin cancer.
- History of radiation treatments.
How Is It Treated?
The good news is basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to other parts of the body and in most cases can be cured by one of the following treatments.
- Electrodessication and Curettage.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
- Topical medications (imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil).
- Oral medications (Erivedge, Odomzo).
How Do I Prevent Getting a Skin Cancer?
- Get an annual skin exam from a dermatologist.
- Do self-exams on a monthly basis, looking for any new or changing moles.
- Protect your skin from UV rays with sunscreen, hats,
sun-glasses, and sun protective clothing.
- Do not use tanning beds.
- If it is possible, don’t make plans for outdoor activities from 10 AM to 4 PM when UV radiation is at the highest levels.
When to See a Dermatologist
- New growth
- Changing lesion or spot.
- Lesion that is red, rough or scaly.
- Non-healing spot.
- Lesion or spot that is painful or itchy.