Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It gets its name because it is a malignancy of the bottom level of the epidermis: the basal layer. While it is rare for this tumor to spread beyond the skin, it can cause significant destruction of the skin and the tissues underneath.
No one knows the cause of cancer but there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the vast majority of Basal Cell Carcinomas are caused by chronic exposure to ultraviolet light. This light has enough energy to cause mutations in the DNA of the cells of our skin. While we have repair mechanisms to try to repair these mutations, if you get enough exposure to the light, these repair systems are overwhelmed and a Basal Cell Carcinoma can form.
However, the fact that basal cell carcinoma can develop in areas not exposed to sunlight lead researchers to feel there may be additional causes as well. Exposure to toxic substances and weakened immune systems caused by medical conditions are possible contributing factors.
While basal cell carcinomas can appear anywhere on your body, they are definitely more likely to be found on the head and neck areas. A sore that refuses to heal or one that may bleed and scab over in cycles are typical skin cancer signs.
A frequent indicator of a specifically basal cell cancerous lesion may be a bump that is pearly or waxy in appearance. On your back or chest, look for a patch that is pink or red. If you see an area that looks like a scar but do not remember having a previous injury in that location, this could be a form of basal cell carcinoma called a morpheaform Basal Cell Carcinoma.
There are a number of risk factors to be aware of. If you have spent a great deal of time in the sun or in tanning booths, you are at increased risk for having this skin cancer. Other risk factors include red hair, blue eyes, freckling and a family history of skin cancers. People whose immune systems are suppressed, especially those who have had organ transplants are at very high risk of developing skin cancers.
Learn More During a Consultation
Consult our physician at Dermatology Associates if you are concerned about any suspicious lesions or other signs of skin cancer on your body. We have offices in Norwood, Foxboro and Franklin. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.