Basal Cell Carcinoma - Symptoms & Causes

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, affecting millions of people worldwide. It typically develops on areas of exposed skin, like the face, neck, and shoulders. BCC grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent complications and ensure optimal cosmetic outcomes. Fortunately, BCC is highly treatable with various effective options available.

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Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

Here's what to look for:

  • A Shiny Bump:

This can be clear enough that you see through its top layer, and it may look pearly or pink if you have light skin. On darker skin, it could appear brown or shiny black. You might spot tiny blood vessels, or the bump may bleed and form a scab.

  • A Lesion with a Raised Border:

You might see a spot that's brown, black, or blue or even one with darker speckles. Its edge might be slightly elevated and see-through.

  • A Flat, Scaly Area:

This patch is often larger and has a raised edge. It can get quite big over time.

  • A Scar-Like Lesion:

This lesion is white and waxy and has no well-defined border.

Remember, basal cell carcinomas can be tender and might bleed with little provocation. If you see any of these signs or anything unusual on your skin, it's crucial to have a one of our skin specialists check it out for you. 

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Basal Cell Carcinoma Risk Factors

Understanding what increases your chances of getting basal cell carcinoma can help you stay vigilant. Here are some of the main risk factors:

  • Sun Exposure:

Being out in the sun a lot, especially if you get sunburned, can make it more likely you'll get skin cancer. Living where the sun is intense, like in the mountains, also adds to the risk.

  • Past Treatments:

If you had radiation for other health problems before, the skin that got treated could be more at risk for cancer.

  • Light Skin:

If you have pale skin, light hair, or blue or green eyes or if you get freckles or sunburn easily, your chance of getting skin cancer is higher.

  • Getting Older:

Skin cancer is more common when you get older, but young people in their 20s and 30s can get it too.

  • Family Health:

If your family has had skin cancer, you should watch your skin because you might get it as well.

  • Certain Drugs:

Some medicines, like those people take when they get a new organ, can make it easier for you to get skin cancer.

  • Arsenic:

Being around arsenic, which can be in some well water or at some workplaces, can increase your risk.

  • Rare Genes:

If you have a rare gene problem like Gorlin syndrome or xeroderma pigmentosum, your chance of skin cancer is higher.

Keeping these factors in check can help you reduce your risk and stay healthy. If you're worried about any of them, talk to your doctor about ways to protect your skin and watch for any changes.


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