Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cell layer— the deepest part of the epidermis -which divides and pushes older cells to the top to be shed. It is known to be caused by long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight – occurring most often on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, such as your head, arms and neck.
Basal cell carcinoma often appears as a slightly transparent bump on the skin, however these bumps may appear slightly different from patient to patient. As they grow, they may bleed easily and ulcerate.
Symptoms & Appearance
Generally, basal cell carcinoma is spotted due to a change in the appearance of the skin which can appear as:
- Shiny/pearly flesh-colored-pink papule with small blood vessels
- Shiny papules with speckled dark pigment
- Pink scaling patches that can mimic eczema
- White, waxy patches that resembles scars
Screening & Prevention
Prevention is key! It is important to start sun safety at an early age. Always wear UV-protective clothing, hats and sunscreen when outside or on long car rides, avoid mid-day direct sunlight whenever possible, avoid tanning beds, and have skin cancer screenings from a board-certified dermatologist.
In the event you do end up suffering from basal cell carcinoma, you may require treatment that will help to remove the cancerous growth(s) and prevent the spread of cancerous cells to local structures– including methods such as:
- Electrodesiccation and curettage: A procedure toscrapes off cancerous cells and burn the base to allow the area to heal once the cancer is removed
- Excision- A procedure done in-office under local anesthesia to removal cancerous cells, closed with sutures
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery: A procedure in which the cancerous growth is slowly removed, layer by layer under the microscope until no abnormal cells remain. This ensureshealthy tissue is left in place during the process – best used for cosmetically sensitive or small areas like the face, hands, genitals or spots in which the cancer has reoccurred. If this is needed- we will refer you to local Mohs surgeons for removal.
In addition, there are some instances where creams, oral medications, or superficial radiation may be appropriate, however not first-line.
Contact Nova Dermatology Today and Ask About Skin Cancer Screenings!