Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It forms 75% of all skin cancers in Australia. In fact, it is the most common of all cancers. Statistics show that in in every 2 to 3 Australians will develop a skin cancer and is usually of this type. These cancers arise in the basal cells, which are at the bottom of the epidermis (outer skin layer).
The Major Cause of BCC is chronic exposure to sunlight, which occur most frequently on exposed parts of the body — the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back. Rarely, however, tumors develop on non-exposed areas. In a few cases, contact with arsenic, exposure to radiation, and complications of burns, scars, vaccinations, or even tattoos are contributing factors.
Anyone with a history of frequent sun exposure can develop basal cell carcinoma. But people who have fair skin, light hair, and blue, green, or gray eyes are at highest risk. People who spend long hours outdoors are in jeopardy. More than two-thirds of the skin cancers that they do develop, however, are squamous cell carcinomas, usually arising on the sites of preexisting inflammatory skin conditions or burn injuries.
Looking for, and identifying BCC’s is most commonly appears as a pink slightly shiny patch (Superficial spreading type). Sometime it may look like a raised pink shiny papule, which is occasionally pigmented or ulcerated (Nodular type).
There is a third type, which is more rare, that is quite difficult to detect looks like a scar (Morphoeic type). BCC’s grow slowly over weeks or months and is locally invasive and aggressive. They do not usually spread to any other organs but rather spread sideways or inwards, thus sometimes called a rodent ulcer.
In addition, basal cell carcinoma sometimes resembles non-cancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Only a trained physician, usually a specialist in diseases of the skin, can decide for sure. A skin biopsy is usually taken to confirm the diagnosis before commencing treatment.
If you observe any of the warning signs or some other change in your skin, consult your physician immediately.