Tag: basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common of all skin cancers. Though it doesn’t spread like melanoma, it can cause disfiguring scars if not identified and treated early. Basal cell carcinoma starts in basal cells; the cells that line the top layer of skin and produce new cells as old ones die.

As with other types of skin cancer, the cause of most basal cell carcinomas is cellular damage resulting from excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Most basal cell carcinomas are found on areas of the skin that have received a lot of sun exposure; like the face, scalp, neck, shoulders, and back.

One of the hallmark signs of a basal cell carcinoma is an open sore that bleeds or crusts over and never seems to heal. The cancer can also form a shiny or waxy bump, sometimes with blood vessels running through it. Or, it can take the form of a scaly reddish patch. In rare cases, basal cell carcinomas resemble a white, waxy scar. If you notice any growth that’s new or changing, call your dermatologist for an appointment.

The doctor will do a biopsy, removing a small sample of tissue from the growth to check it for cancer. For small cancers, the doctor can use a tool called a curette to scrape it off, and then seal the skin underneath with an electric needle. In Mohs surgery, the doctor removes thin layers of the tissue, one at a time, examining each layer under a microscope until all the cancer cells are gone. For larger cancers, the dermatologist can use a scalpel to remove the whole growth, along with some of the skin around it. This is called surgical excision.

Lasers, radiation, and freezing are other methods used to remove basal cell carcinoma. Cancers that are not very deep may be treated with topical drugs such as imiquimod (Aldara), and fluorouracil (Carac, Fluoroplex, Efudex).

5. Skin Cancer

Nearly half of all Americans who live to the age of 65 will develop some type of skin cancer. Almost all of them, if diagnosed and treated early, will be cured. If not, all three types of skin cancer—melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma—can be disfiguring and/or deadly.
Melanoma
Melanoma

4. Noncancerous Skin Conditions

Among the infinite number of conditions that could do harm to your skin are the 30+ discussed in this chapter. They range (alphabetically) from athlete’s foot to wrinkles.
Athlete’s Foot
Bacterial and fungal infections (including athlete’s foot) develop because feet spend a lot of time in the perfect breeding ground of warm,

Skin Cancer Symptoms That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Skin Cancer Symptoms That You Shouldn’t Ignore

You’ve heard the warnings about the dangers of skin cancer over and over again, and you know the importance of protecting your skin from the sun using sunscreen and clothing, but do you know what skin cancer symptoms to look for? Depending on your medical and family history, you may

3 Skin Cancer Types and Their Warning Signs

3 Skin Cancer Types and Their Warning Signs

The three most common skin cancer types are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, and the number of Americans who get one or more forms continues to increase. Nearly half of Americans who live to be 65 will develop some type of skin cancer. Almost all of them,

Can You Die from Skin Cancer?

Can You Die from Skin Cancer?

Can you die from skin cancer? If you don’t know someone in your circle who’s been diagnosed and treated from skin cancer, you may have a preconception that skin cancer is treatable 100 percent of the time. But each type of skin cancer carries its own survival risks. Melanoma is

Skin Cancer Signs? Self-Checks May Help You Avoid Deadly Recurrence

Skin Cancer Signs? Self-Checks May Help You Avoid Deadly Recurrence

Melanoma—the most serious form of skin cancer—is rare, but the number of cases is still cause for concern. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 87,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma every year, and nearly 10,000 die from the disease. Regular self-checks will help you recognize skin cancer signs

Instant Sunburn Relief: 9 Ways to Soothe Your Burn

Instant Sunburn Relief: 9 Ways to Soothe Your Burn

Oops! You did it again. You got so caught up in the outdoor fun you were having that you forgot to apply sunblock. Now you have the tell-tale signs of a sunburn—hot, painful, itchy skin. Not sure how to soothe it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered (like you should

Sunburn: How Bad Is It for Your Health?

Sunburn: How Bad Is It for Your Health?

Guess what! I’m a bad mother (well, at least some of the time). The other day I was playing in a pool with my kids. We had finally escaped the winter to a place where the warm sun shone, and our goosebumps dissolved into a distant memory. We were having

Age Spots—or Signs of Skin Cancer?

Age Spots—or Signs of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer may seem less threatening than breast, lung, or colon cancers, but if you have the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, it can be fatal. A dermatologist can perform a thorough screening of your skin, but between appointments, you need to monitor your skin for signs of

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