What is basal cell carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the skin. It is the most common type of skin cancer and may also be called basal cell cancer, abbreviated BCC. Basal cell carcinoma can be recognized as a shiny, raised area of skin that has blood vessels running through it. Fortunately, it is not known to cause death and does not usually spread outside the infected area.
So how does it work? It’s contagious? No. Basal cell carcinoma cannot be caught from an infected person. Once you have it, it stays with you. However, it is likely that not everyone will incur his wrath. Studies reveal that white people are the most potential victims of basal cell carcinoma. If you have green, blue or gray eyes, red or blonde hair, then you should watch your skin for signs of it. Other likely victims are those who spend hours tanning in the sun. Prolonged exposure to arsenic poisoning and radiation is another way to get this type of skin cancer. And last but not least, having a weak immune system. Now to the question of, what causes basal cell carcinoma?
There are two main causative agents of basal cell carcinoma. The first, through a germ known as follicle-sebaceous aprocinus germ, or trichoblast. While the other is sunlight. However, the most important cause of cancer is attributed to the sun. And this is because too much sun exposure causes a kind of damage to a person’s DNA. This is known as thymine dimers. And this, when allowed to accumulate, because the body’s DNA repair doesn’t completely remove it, could lead to mutations. Which in turn could result in the birth of a basal cell carcinoma. Also, overexposure to the sun tends to weaken the immune system, making it ineffective at detecting new cell tumors.
However, in addition to these two causative agents, a person’s genetic makeup could also serve as a platform for the formation of basal cell carcinoma. These people suffer from a condition known as basal cell nevus syndrome. This is a rare situation, characterized by symptoms such as keratocystic odontogenic tumors of the jaw, palmar or plantar fossae (soles of the feet), calcification of the falx celebri (in the midline of the brain), and tear abnormalities.
Now how do you know you have BCC? If you have a sore that won’t heal, you should probably see a doctor because it could be a sign of basal cell carcinoma. Do you have a reddish or irritated spot on your arms, chest, or legs? That could also be BCC. Another common feature can be a shiny bump on the skin, which appears pearly or transparent. It’s often white, red, or pink, but it can be black, tan, or brown, especially if you have dark hair. In this case, you may think it’s a mole, but it could very well be the mark of a basal cell carcinoma.
Finally, basal cell carcinoma can appear as a scar-like patch of skin that can be white, yellow, or waxy. However, this scar would have jagged edges and would appear shiny and firm. This is usually a serious sign that the cancer is deep within the skin.
Despite these signs or symptoms, the only way to really know that you may be suffering from basal cell carcinoma is to undergo a skin biopsy, the most common of which is a shave biopsy, which is usually performed under local anesthesia. . It is worth knowing that most cases involving BCC can be easily diagnosed clinically. However, in rare cases, more tests may be needed to indicate the presence of cancer.
As in all cases of cancer, the most basic form of treatment is chemotherapy. And in the case of basal cell carcinoma, the inclusion of the chemotherapy agent, 5-fluorouracil, is known to be effective. Another topical agent that works equally well is imiquimod cream, a product that is reported to have a 70-90% success rate in shrinking or even completely eliminating cancer.
In addition to chemotherapy, certain types of surgery may also treat basal cell carcinoma. These are Mohs surgery and cryosurgery. With cryosurgery, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze cancer cells, causing them to die. Whereas Mohs surgery involves removing the tumor and comparing it to a small clipped portion of normal-looking skin around the tumor, to locate the canceled cells. It should be noted that this type of surgery is the most suitable for complex cases of BCC. A final option is immunotherapy, which is carried out with the help of a common type of garden herb, euphorbia peplus.
Alright, now let’s do a quick roundup of the key points in BCC:
The first thing we learned is that BCC is the most common type of skin cancer. But luckily, you may not be a target, depending on your race and other factors. If you are white, then you have the opportunity to acquire it. If you spend too much time in the sun, are exposed to radiation, or use certain tanning products like tanning beds, then you are also at risk.
The second thing we learned is that BCC is generally not fatal. That means you shouldn’t be thinking about death yet. Also, it is not known to spread to other parts of the body. But even if it does, a much slower pace is needed.
The third point is that BCC could be cured with chemotherapy and surgery, of which the Ministry of Health is the most effective for complex cancer cases.