Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, and it’s also one of the most treatable. If it’s not caught early, it can spread and cause serious damage. That’s why it’s important to know the symptoms and signs of basal cell carcinoma.
So, what should you look out for? In this article, we will explore the things you can spot to identify basal cell carcinoma on your skin.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
This condition accounts for over 75% of all skin cancers. It is caused by the uncontrolled growth of basal cells, which are the cells that make up the skin’s outermost layer.
Basal cell carcinoma can develop anywhere on the body, but it is most common on areas of skin that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, head, and neck.
The Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The signs and symptoms of this skin cancer can vary but commonly include the following:
- A smooth, small, pearly, or waxy bump
- A flat, red, or pink patch
- A scaly or crusty area
- A sore that does not heal
- A growth with irregular borders
- A growth that bleeds or oozes
- A growth that changes in size, shape, or color
It is important to note that not all of these signs and symptoms are always present in basal cell carcinoma. For example, some may be painless or have no visible symptoms at all.
How to Identify Basal Cell Carcinoma
The best way to identify this condition is to perform regular skin self-exams. This means looking for any new or changing growths on your skin. You should also see a doctor for a skin exam every year, especially if you are at high risk for skin cancer.
When performing a skin self-exam, look for the ABCDEs of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry – One-half of the growth does not match the other half.
- Border – The border of the growth is irregular or uneven.
- Color – The color of the growth is not uniform.
- Diameter – The growth is larger than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser).
- Evolving – The growth is changing in size, shape, or color.
If you find any suspicious growths on your skin, see a doctor right away.
Treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma
The treatment for basal cell carcinoma depends on its size, location, and type. Most basal cell carcinomas can be cured with surgery, which involves removing the growth and some of the surrounding healthy tissue. Other treatments for it include:
This involves freezing the growth with liquid nitrogen.
Curettage and Electrodesiccation
This involves scraping away the growth and then using an electric current to destroy the remaining cells.
This is a more precise type of surgery that is used to remove basal cell carcinoma that is difficult to treat with other methods.
Photodynamic therapy involves applying a light-sensitive drug to the skin and then shining a specific wavelength of light on the area. The drug makes the cancer cells sensitive to the light, which destroys them.
There are a few topical medications that can be used to treat basal cell carcinoma, such as imiquimod cream and 5-fluorouracil cream.
Radiation therapy can be used to treat basal cell carcinoma, but it is not as common as surgery. It can also cause some side effects, such as skin irritation or hair loss.
It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully after treatment for basal cell carcinoma. This will help prevent the cancer from coming back.
How Can You Prevent Skin Cancer?
The best way to prevent the condition is to protect your skin from the sun. This means wearing sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days, and refrain from using tanning beds.
You should also limit your time in the sun, especially during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Other ways to improve your health include:
- Quit smoking
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stay hydrated
- Get regular exercise
- Manage stress
Basal Cell Carcinoma Diagnosis and Treatment in Miami, FL
Basal cell carcinoma is a common and treatable type of skin cancer. By knowing its signs and symptoms and performing regular skin self-exams, you can help catch it early. Early detection and treatment of basal cell carcinoma is important to prevent the cancer from spreading. If you have any concerns about a suspicious growth on your skin, see a doctor right away.
Do you need reliable and accurate basal cell carcinoma in Miami? If so, put your trust in the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center. Dr. T.J. Giuffrida, the best fellowship-trained, board-certified skin surgeon in Coral Gables, will ensure you get the best care possible. From diagnosis to recovery, we will be with you at every step. You may reach our friendly staff today at (305) 461-2000. You can also submit an online request form to book a visit with us.
We look forward to serving you!