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BASAL CELL CARCINOMA

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mithilamhapankar's picture
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Joined: 9 Dec 2009

Basal cell carcinoma
Rodent ulcer; Skin cancer - basal cell; Cancer - skin - basal cell
Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Skin cancer is divided into two major groups: nonmelanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of nonmelanoma skin cancer, and is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, 75% of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas.

Basal cell carcinoma starts in the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. It grows slowly and is painless. A new skin growth that bleeds easily or does not heal well may suggest basal cell carcinoma. The majority of these cancers occur on areas of skin that are regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation. They may also appear on the scalp. Basal cell skin cancer used to be more common in people over age 40, but is now often diagnosed in younger people.

Your risk for basal cell skin cancer is higher if you have:

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Light-colored skin
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Blue or green eyes
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Blond or red hair
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Overexposure to x-rays or other forms of radiation

Basal cell skin cancer almost never spreads. But, if left untreated, it may grow into surrounding areas and nearby tissues and bone.
Symptoms

Basal cell carcinoma may look only slightly different than normal skin. The cancer may appear as skin bump or growth that is:

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Pearly or waxy
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White or light pink
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Flesh-colored or brown

In some cases the skin may be just slightly raised or even flat.

You may have:

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A skin sore that bleeds easily
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A sore that does not heal
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Oozing or crusting spots in a sore
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Appearance of a scar-like sore without having injured the area
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Irregular blood vessels in or around the spot
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A sore with a depressed (sunken) area in the middle

Signs and tests

Your doctor will check your skin and look at the size, shape, color, and texture of any suspicious areas.

If skin cancer is a possibility, a piece of skin will be removed from the area and examined under a microscope. This is called a skin biopsy. This must be done to confirm the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma or other skin cancers. There are many types of skin biopsies. The exact procedure depends on the location of the suspected skin cancer.

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