Skin Cancer- Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It occurs when the basal cells in the skin grow abnormally and out of control. Exposure from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the most frequent cause of basal cell carcinoma.
There are several types of basal cell carcinomas and it has many different appearances. Basal cell carcinoma is a very slow growing type of non-melanoma skin cancer. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
This type of skin cancer needs to be treated and has a high cure rate. If left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can become quite large, cause disfigurement, and in rare cases, spread to other parts of the body and cause death.
Basal cell carcinomas are a slow growing type of skin cancer. Basal cell skin cancer tends to invade and spread across skin tissue. They may grow very large and cause disfigurement if untreated. Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to distant organs. In rare cases, it may spread to muscles, bones, nerve tissue, the brain, and cause death.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing basal cell carcinoma, although some people that experience this skin cancer may not have any risk factors. People with all of the risk factors may never develop basal cell carcinoma; however, the likelihood increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma:
_____ People with light colored skin (Caucasians), blue eyes, green eyes, gray eyes, blond hair, or red hair have an increased risk for developing skin cancer. However, people with darker complexions and dark hair may get skin cancer as well, but they have a lower risk.
_____ People that spend a lot of time in the sun, such as construction workers, farmers, fishermen, lifeguards, sunbathers, and outdoor sport enthusiasts have an increased risk for skin cancer.
_____ Receiving multiple severe sunburns in childhood or as a teenager is a big risk factor for developing skin cancer.
_____ People that have had basal cell carcinoma are at risk for another basal cell carcinoma and other types of skin cancer.
_____ Cigarette smoking can contribute to skin cancer. The tar in cigarettes is a known cancer causing agent.
_____ Exposure to cancer causing chemical agents, such as tars, oils, and arsenic (found in some herbicides) is associated with an increased risk for basal cell carcinoma.
_____ Chronically injured skin is a risk factor for basal cell carcinoma.
_____ People with suppressed immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients or people that have AIDS, have an increased risk for basal cell carcinoma.
_____ Not wearing a sunblock for UV rays A and B while in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer.
_____ Your risk for basal cell carcinoma increases with age. Most cases develop after the age of 40, but it certainly can develop in younger people.
_____ People that sunburn easily are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer.
_____ People with multiple moles have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
_____ People with freckled skin have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
_____ Artificial tanning lights used in tanning booths, beds, and lamps have harmful UV rays and increase the risk of skin cancer.
_____ Some people may have a genetic predisposition to basal cell carcinoma.
_____ Overexposure to X-rays or other forms of radiation increases the risk of skin cancer.
_____ People with basal cell nevus syndrome have the potential for many basal cell carcinomas. This is a rare syndrome that people are born with.
_____ People with rare genetic disorders, such as nevoid carcinoma syndrome, xeroderma pigmentosum, or Bazex syndrome, have an increased risk for developing basal cell carcinoma.
Scientists have learned the mechanisms by which UV light harms DNA and causes normal cells to become cancerous. They hope to use this knowledge to find ways to treat skin cancer.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.