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Basal Cell carcinoma (a skin cancer) – Symptoms

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is a skin cancer that first surfaces as a papule – a circumscribed, small skin elevation which gradually enlarges and develops into a crater that crusts, erodes and bleeds. Metastasis in this condition is pretty rare but the invasion of cancer cells can destroy adjacent and underlying tissue. In most cases almost 90% of them, a lesion appears between the upper lip and hairline of the individual.
Basal Cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and is not very lethal. It is more common in people above the age of 45years. Men are more prone to contracting this condition as compared to women. Caucasians are at a higher risk on getting basal cell carcinoma as compared to Asians and African-Americans. Sun exposure and skin color determine the risk of skin cancer. The longer the exposure of the skin to the sun and the lighter the skin color, higher is the risk.

Types of Basal Cell Carcinoma:
Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common type of Basal Cell Carcinoma. It is characterized by an oval or round cream/pink translucent nodule that has blood vessels and a rolled border.
Pigmented Lesion: This type of Basal Cell Carcinoma is darker than nodular basal cell carcinoma. It could be brown, black and even blue in color. Pigmented basal cell carcinoma can appear similar to the malignant melanoma tumor and therefore it is imperative that you consult only an expert and make sure that the two are treated differently.
Superficial type: This basal cell carcinoma in most cases is misread as eczema or psoriasis. It is characterized by scaly, red localized plaque.

It is the ultraviolet radiation of the sun that is the main cause of basal cell carcinoma. The incidence of basal cell carcinoma has been steadily increasing since the 1970’s given the inability of the ozone layer to protect the earth from these harmful rays. The ozone layer is getting depleted with every passing year and the UV radiation from the sun is just getting stronger. Clinical trials are taking place all over the world to test if this type of skin cancer can be prevented.

Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma:
Basal cell carcinoma is characterized by five distinct characteristics. Each is very different from the other and in all likeliness two or more that two characteristics are present in the tumor. Some types of basal cell carcinoma such as the superficial type of basal cell carcinoma appear as psoriasis or eczema. Therefore it is essential to trust only an expert dermatologist to diagnose this cancer.
Regular check ups at a doctor’s clinic or self check ups are essential if you want to ensure that the condition is treated at the earliest. Understanding the signs of the condition and paying attention to what to look for can save you and your family much grief.

A few symptoms are highlighted below:

1. If you have a sore that has not healed in a long time about three week, this could be a sign.
2. Presence of an irritated are or a reddish patch. This patch may appear on the shoulders, arms, chest or legs. It may or may not cause discomfort.
3. A round smooth growth with a border around it that is elevated and a slight indentation in the center. Tiny blood vessels will start developing on the surface as the growth enlarges.
4. A translucent nodule that could be red, white or pink in color. The nodule could also be confused with a mole as it may appear in colors of black, brown or tan.
5. Certain areas of the skin may develop a scar like appearance. It has as a yellow or white waxy like appearance and has ill defined borders.

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