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Featured Skin Cancer Article

Skin Cancer

´╗┐Basal Cell Skin Cancer


Skin cancer occurs in three forms; basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer and melanoma. Of these three, basal cell skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. It is predominant in the US, where about a million new cases are reported every year.

Basal cells are the deepest layer in the epidermis while basal cell carcinomas are malignant growths that grow in this skin layer. This is a form of cancer that seldom metastasizes which results only in scars and disfigurement and seldom is life threatening. It is only if the cancerous cells invade the lymph or blood vessels that this cancer can pass on to the other organs of the body.

Basal call skin cancer is usually spread through local invasion of surrounding skin tissue. This is why the cancer can be cured by the early detection and treatment of the disease. If not treated quickly, basal cell skin cancer proves to be difficult to eliminate and may become large and disturbing.

The risk factors for basal skin cancer are:

- Too much and chronic exposure to the sun over numerous years

- As those with fair or white skin complexion and with blond or red hair are most susceptible to basal skin cancer, a majority of Americans suffer from this skin cancer.

- This cancer was first associated with older people but is now seen more in young adults

With self examination, it is possible to treat basal skin cancer in the bud. Look out for small and pearly nodules that may have telangiectasia on its surface with some ulceration and pigmentation. Even single, flat and depressed lesions that are hard to touch with yellowish or whitish indistinct borders should be referred to the doctor.

A simple biopsy is all that is required to diagnose basal cell carcinoma; and once detected, it is easy to treat. It is only about 5 to 10% of people suffering from basal cell skin cancer who are resistant to treatment, suffer with damage in surrounding skin and at times, may invade the bone and cartilage.

There are different treatment procedures for basal cell skin cancer:

- Curettage where a scalpel is used for scraping malignant tissue and is best for treating superficial carcinoma

- Topical chemotherapy where cancer cells are destroyed by applying pharmacologic agents to the skin

- Cryosurgery where the lesion is destroyed using liquid nitrogen by ultra cold freezing

- Surgical excision is used for removing the cancer when the carcinoma reaches deeper tissues

- Mohs microscopic surgery is the surgical removal of the carcinoma under direct microscopic observation

- Laser surgery where laser beam is used for destroying cancerous tissue

Check with your doctor to choose the best treatment option for your form of basal cell skin cancer.

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