Basal Cell Carcinoma Warning Signs

Basal and squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis continue to increase, which is most likely due to increased longevity and better detection methods (cancer.org). Many Americans are beginning to take notice of their skin and report anything out of the ordinary to their primary care physician, as soon as an abnormal growth, tumor, or a skin mole begins to change.

Although this type of skin cancer is not the most common, it continues to make its name in the world, as a very deadly disease, if left untreated. Basal cells are located in the epidermis and their main function is to produce new skin cells. Basal cell carcinomas are most often found on the facial and neck area, and on other areas that are exposed to the sun such as the arms and back and take on a waxy bumpy appearance.

This type of skin cancer often recurs in more than fifty percent of those that are diagnosed, within the first five years, after diagnosis.

If treatment is not sought, the basal cell carcinoma can metastasize to the nearby tissues, muscles, nerves, and bones, although this is very rare. Those that are at risk include immunocompromised individuals, family history, and long term exposure to radiation and arsenic.

Treatment for basal cell carcinoma includes:

Topical treatments (Carac, Efudex)

Mohs Surgery involves the removal of the cancer cells layer by layer, along with examination of each, until no malignant cells remain.

Cryosurgery (freezing with liqud nitrogen)

Surgical excision and electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C). This treatment is not used for facial basal cell carcinoma.

For more information regarding skin cancer, be sure to click here.