Basal Cell Carcinoma Prognosis
Most basal cell carcinomas are cured by treatment. Cure is most likely if treatment is undertaken when the lesion is small.
About 50% of people with basal cell carcinoma develop a second one within 3 years of the first. They are also at increased risk of other skin cancers, especially melanoma. Regular self-skin examinations and long-term annual skin checks by an experienced health professional are recommended.
Living With Cancer: Understanding Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomaSquamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layer of your skin. Most often, the cause is prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, or from tanning beds or lamps. Avoiding UV light reduces your risk of squamous cell carcinoma and other forms of skin cancer. Learn more about the symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma and what you can do to keep yourself safe.
Cancer fatigue: Why it occurs and how to cope Fatigue, usually described as feeling tired, weak or exhausted, affects most people during cancer treatment. Cancer fatigue may be caused by many factors, and the factors that contribute to your cancer fatigue may be completely different from those of someone else. Find out more about cancer fatigue, what you can do on your own to cope and when you need to seek medical care.
Treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma Soft-tissue sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the tissues that connect, support and surround other body structures. This includes muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and the lining of your joints. Your treatment options will depend on the size, type and location of your tumor. Because there are so many different types of soft tissue sarcoma, it’s important to determine the exact nature of each tumor so that the best treatments can be chosen. Learn more about the treatment options for soft-tissue sarcoma.
More Pictures Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
While the above pictures show you some common ways that BCC can appear on the skin, this skin cancer can show up in other ways, as the following pictures illustrate.
Scaly patch with a spot of normal-looking skin in the center
On the trunk, BCC may look like a scaly patch with a spot of normal-looking skin in the center and a slightly raised border, as shown here.
Basal cell carcinoma can be lighter in some areas and darker in others
While BCC tends to be one color, it can be lighter in some areas and darker in others, as shown here.
Basal cell carcinoma can be brown in color
Most BCCs are red or pink however, this skin cancer can be brown, as shown here.
Basal cell carcinoma can look like a group of shiny bumps
BCC can look like a group of small, shiny bumps that feel smooth to the touch.
Basal cell carcinoma can look like a wart or a sore
The BCC on this patients lower eyelid looks like a wart* in one area and a sore** in another area.
If you see a spot or growth on your skin that looks like any of the above or one that is growing or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist.
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Basal Cell Carcinoma Overview
Basal cell carcinoma, also called epithelioma, is the uncontrolled growth of the skin’s basal cells. These are the cells that line the deepest layer of the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer. This type of cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
It is mainly caused by repeated long-term exposure to sunlight. Light-skinned people who spent a lot of time in the sun as children, or who spend time in tanning booths, are especially susceptible. X-ray treatments for acne and exposure to industrial pollutants such as arsenic and hydrocarbons also increase the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in the United States, with nearly 3 million cases diagnosed each year.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can show up on the skin in many ways. Also known as BCC, this skin cancer tends to grow slowly and can be mistaken for a harmless pimple, scar, or sore.
Common signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma
This skin cancer often develops on the head or neck and looks like a shiny, raised, and round growth.
To help you spot BCC before it grows deep into your skin, dermatologists share these 7 warning signs that could be easily missed.
If you find any of the following signs on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist.
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Where Does Bcc Develop
As the above pictures show, this skin cancer tends to develop on skin that has had lots of sun exposure, such as the face or ears. Its also common on the bald scalp and hands. Other common areas for BCC include, the shoulders, back, arms, and legs.
While rare, BCC can also form on parts of the body that get little or no sun exposure, such as the genitals.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Warning Signs
Basal cell carcinoma typically develops on parts of your body exposed to sunlight, but it does occasionally occur in other places. often include:
- an open sore that doesnt heal or heals and returns it may ooze or crust over
- a pink growth with raised edges and a depressed center, sometimes with abnormal blood vessels that resemble the spokes of a wheel
- a small pink or red bump thats shiny, pearly, or translucent it may have areas that are black, blue, or brown
- a raised red patch that itches
- a flat and firm area that resemble a pale or yellow scar
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Risk Factors For Basal Cell Carcinoma
Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include:
- Age and gender: basal cell carcinomas are particularly prevalent in elderly males. However, they also affect females and younger adults
- Previous basal cell carcinoma or other form of skin cancer
- Sun damage
- Repeated prior episodes of sunburn
- Fair skin, blue eyes and blond or red hairânote basal cell carcinoma can also affect darker skin types
- Previous cutaneous injury, thermal burn, disease
- Other risk factors include ionizing radiation, exposure to arsenic, and immune suppression due to disease or medicines.
Effects Of Radiation Therapy
Side effects of radiation are usually restricted to the area that has been radiated and can include:
- Irritation of skin, ranging from redness to blistering and peeling
- Changes in skin color
- Loss of hair in the area being treated
- A long-term increase in new skin cancers in the area treated with radiation
- Damage to the salivary glands and teeth when treating cancers near the mouth
- Fatigue, taste changes, difficulty swallowing, and a less active thyroid gland
Its important to talk with your radiology team about strategies to deal with these side effects. Some self-care approaches you can take include:
- Getting plenty of rest and establishing a good sleep routine
- Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet
- Taking care of the skin in the area that has received radiation. Be particularly careful to protect it from the sun, heat, and cold
- Avoiding irritating the skin by wearing tight or restrictive clothing
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What Other Factors Contribute To Fatigue
Tumor cells compete for nutrients, often at the expense of the normal cells’ growth. In addition to fatigue, weight loss and are common.
Decreased nutrition from the side effects of treatments can cause fatigue.
Cancer treatments, specifically chemotherapy, can cause reduced blood counts, which may lead to anemia, a blood disorder that occurs when the blood cannot adequately transport oxygen through the body. When tissues don’t get enough oxygen, fatigue can result.
Research shows that chronic, severe pain increases fatigue.
Stress can worsen feelings of fatigue. Stress can result from dealing with the disease and the “unknowns,” as well as from worrying about daily accomplishments or trying to meet the expectations of others.
Fatigue may occur when you try to maintain your normal daily routine and activities during treatments. Modifying your schedule and activities can help conserve energy.
Depression and fatigue often go hand-in-hand. It may not be clear which started first. One way to sort this out is to try to understand your depressed feelings and how they affect your life. If you are depressed all the time, were depressed before your cancer diagnosis, are preoccupied with feeling worthless and useless, you may need treatment for depression.
There are several ways to conserve your energy. Here are some suggestions:
Plan ahead and organize your work
Warning Signs Of Basal Cell Carcinoma That You Could Mistake As Harmless
Warning sign: A pink or reddish growth that dips in the centerCan be mistaken for: A skin injury or acne scar
A pink or reddish growth that dips in the center
The BCC on this patients cheek could be mistaken for a minor skin injury.
Warning sign: A growth or scaly patch of skin on or near the earCan be mistaken for: Scaly, dry skin, minor injury, or scar
A growth or scaly patch of skin on or near the ear
BCC often develops on or near an ear, and this one could be mistaken for a minor skin injury.
Warning sign: A sore that doesn’t heal and may bleed, ooze, or crust overCan be mistaken for: Sore or pimple
A sore that doesn’t heal, or heals and returns
This patient mistook the BCC on his nose for a non-healing pimple.
Warning sign: A scaly, slightly raised patch of irritated skin, which could be red, pink, or another colorCan be mistaken for: Dry, irritated skin, especially if it’s red or pink
A scaly, slightly raised patch of irritated skin
This BCC could be mistaken for a patch of dry, irritated skin.
Warning sign: A round growth that may be pink, red, brown, black, tan, or the same color as your skinCan be mistaken for: A mole, wart, or other harmless growth.
A round growth that may be same color as your skin
Would you recognize this as a skin cancer, or would you dismiss it as a harmless growth on your face?
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Basal Cell Carcinoma Causes
The cause of basal cell carcinoma is multifactorial.
- Most often, there are DNA mutations in the patched tumour suppressor gene, part of hedgehog signalling pathway
- These may be triggered by exposure to ultraviolet radiation
- Various spontaneous and inherited gene defects predispose to basal cell carcinoma
How Can A Patient Manage Cancer
Patients with cancers and those who are on cancer treatment may need to make a few lifestyle changes to cope up with side effects such as tiredness.
- Physical activity: Staying or becoming physically active can help relieve fatigue. The type and level of physical activity may change during and after cancer treatment. Some people may benefit from working with a physical therapist. Doctors may usually discuss with patients how to be physically fit during and after cancer treatments.
- Counseling: Behavioral therapy may help patients to cope up with tiredness. It usually helps patients by reframing thoughts and improving sleep during cancer treatment.
- Stress relievers: Evidence suggests that mindfulness practices, yoga, massages, music therapy, meditation, and acupuncture may reduce tiredness in cancer survivors.
- Diet: Doctors usually prescribe a healthy diet that includes nutrients and vitamins. Alternatively, few supplements may also be prescribed.
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Genetic Mutations In People With High Numbers Of Skin Cancers
To do the study, the researchers looked at 61 people who were treated at Stanford Hospital and Clinics for a higher-than-average number of basal cell carcinomas: an average of 11 diagnoses per person during a 10-year period:
- about 75% of the people in the study were men
- the average age was about 69
- about 97% of the people were of European descent
The researchers collected saliva samples from each person in the study and performed genetic testing to look for mutations in 29 genes that help repair DNA damage. Mutations in these genes are linked to many other types of cancer.
The researchers found that 19.7% of the people in the study had mutations in 12 DNA repair genes, including:
In comparison, about 3% of people in the average population have mutations in those genes.
“We found that about 20 percent of the people with frequent basal cell carcinomas have a mutation in one of the genes responsible for repairing DNA damage, versus about 3 percent of the general population. That’s shockingly high,” said Kavita Sarin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford and senior author of the study.
Mutations in the BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, CHEK2, MSH6, NBN, and PALB2 genes are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
When looking at the cancer history of the people in the study, the researchers found that 34.4% had a personal history of another cancer besides basal cell carcinoma, including:
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Treating Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas must be removed. Methods include
- and curettage
A painstaking procedure called Mohs surgery minimizes the amount of tissue removed. It is often performed when the cancer is located in the skin folds around the nose, at the corners of the eyes, and around the ears.
If you have had one basal cell carcinoma, you are at higher risk of developing others. Regular checkups are recommended for five years after removal of a basal cell carcinoma to make sure the cancer has not returned, and no new ones have appeared.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Removal
Many factors impact the choice of therapy for a basal cell carcinoma . Size, location, and histologic pattern are most important. The patientâs cosmetic sensibility also plays a role. For example, Mohs surgery is appropriate for ill-defined tumors on the face, recurrent lesions, large tumors, and those with morpheaform histology. Curettage and electrodessication is appropriate for small nodular or superficial basal cell carcinomas on the trunk. Surgical excision leaves a straight line scar and is very appropriate for most nodular basal cell carcinomas that are not candidates for Mohs surgery.
Classic surgical excision with 3-4 mm margins is one of the first-line therapies for basal cell carcinoma. Given clear margins, the cure rate is estimated at 98%. It is usually employed for uncomplicated basal cell carcinomas at a distance from important anatomic structures. Certain features are associated with a further extension beyond clinical margins or the need for tissue sparing. In these cases, Mohs surgery is typically used. They include proximity to the nose, eyes, or ears, larger lesions, recurrent lesions, and morpheaform histology.
Different types of surgery can be used to treat basal cell cancers.
Skin grafting and reconstructive surgery
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You Can Find Skin Cancer On Your Body
The best way to find skin cancer is to examine yourself. When checking, you want to look at the spots on your skin. And you want to check everywhere from your scalp to the spaces between your toes and the bottoms of your feet.
If possible, having a partner can be helpful. Your partner can examine hard-to-see areas like your scalp and back.
Getting in the habit of checking your skin will help you notice changes. Checking monthly can be beneficial. If you have had skin cancer, your dermatologist can tell you how often you should check your skin.
People of all ages get skin cancer
Checking your skin can help you find skin cancer early when its highly treatable.
What Is Skin Cancer
Cancer can start any place in the body. Skin cancer starts when cells in the skin grow out of control.
Skin cancer cells can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, but this is not common. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis. To doctors, the cancer cells in the new place look just like the ones from the skin.
Cancer is always named based on the place where it starts. So if skin cancer spreads to another part of the body, its still called skin cancer.
Ask your doctor to use this picture to show you where your cancer is
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When Is It Used
Primary radiation therapy may be used for
- older patients with large cancers
- patients with health problems who cannot have surgery
- tumours in areas which are hard to remove surgically, for example, on the eyelids, ears, or nose
- cancers that have come back after surgery and have become too large or too invasive to be removed with more surgery
- relieving symptoms
Primary radiation therapy can cure small nonmelanoma skin cancers and can delay the growth of more advanced cancers.
In some cases, radiation therapy is used after surgery as additional therapy to kill small deposits of cancer cells that may not have been removed during surgery, or to lower the risk of cancer recurring after surgery. Radiation may also be used to treat nonmelanoma skin cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.
A patient receiving radiation therapy will likely visit a medical facility with special x-ray equipment between 15 and 30 times. Recovery times vary depending on the location of the cancer and the amount of radiation used.