Basal Cell Carcinoma
BCC’s or Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, affecting 50 to 60,000 Canadians each year. This type of skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. 1 out of every three new cancers is a skin cancer, and the majority of are basal cell carcinomas (BBC). It get’s its name because this type of cancer is found in the basal layer of the skin cell (the outer layer). In most cases, older men were affected by this cancer however over the past few years more and more women are becoming infected, and the age category is decreasing.
What are Basal Cell Carcinomas?
They are uncontrolled opened lesions or growths that form on the skin. They usually look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars. Basal cell carcinomas can be quite disfiguring, but luckily, do not grow beyond the original site.
What causes Basal Cell Carcinomas?
One of the leading causes of Basal Cell Carcinomas (BBC) is chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation or sunlight. UVB rays are the cause of almost all basal cell carcinomas and appear in areas of the skin, which are exposed more frequently to the sun such as; the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and the back. Other causes of basal cell carcinomas are when the skin comes in contact with arsenic, could be a genetic factor, exposure to radiation, burns, scars, vaccination, tattoos and tanning beds are all contributing factors.
What are the symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma?
The most common area to find Basal Cell Carcinoma is on the face. However, they can develop anywhere on the skin. If you suspect that you may have a Basal Cell Carcinoma look for the following:
- A persistent, non-healing sore is a very common sign of an early basal cell carcinoma
- An open wound that bleeds oozes or crusts and doesn’t heal within 2-3 weeks
- A reddish patch or irritated area that never truly disappears on the chest, shoulders, arms or legs
- The area in questions is sore, itchy or tender to touch
- A shiny bump that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red or white.
- Can also be tan, black, or brown, especially in dark-haired people, and can be confused with a mole
- A pink growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center
- As the growth slowly enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface
- A scar-like area that is white, yellow or waxy and often has poorly defined borders
- The skin itself appears shiny and taut
- This warning sign can indicate the presence of an aggressive tumor
How can you treat Basal Cell Carcinomas (BBCs)?
The key to treating Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) is for you find them early. Follow the signs and symptoms mentioned above, routinely check your skin for any signs of a change in growth, or appearance. If you think you may have a Basal Cell Carcinomas, contact your physician immediately. Remember, the sooner, the better!
There are several ways in which we treat Basal Cell Carcinomas. To determine which treatment will perform, it will depend on these factors:
- age of a patient
- the general state of health
After examination, the treatment can be performed at your physician’s office and treated as an outpatient procedure. If a tumor is large, there are more extensive treatment will be required.
What are the treatment options for Basal Cell Carcinomas?
- Excisional Surgery – full removal of growth, the incision is closed, and the entire growth is sent to a laboratory to ensure all cancerous cells have been removed.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery – the tumor is identified and removed completely, then a thin layer of the surrounding skin one layer at a time is removed and is checked under a microscope until viewed as cancer-free.
- Cryosurgery – Liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth, the growth becomes blistered, or crusted and falls off leaving the skin cancer free.
- Topical Medications – medications are although rarely used for the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma.
Pictures of Basal Cell Carcinomas
If you have questions or inquiries about this or any type of skin cancer, call us or book an appointment today.