Skin Diseases 2022

Basal cell carcinoma: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Basal cell carcinoma: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Basal cell carcinoma: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, which causes the appearance of a small tumor, in the form of a reddish spot that grows slowly over time.

Basal cell carcinoma is not very aggressive and normally only affects the layers of the skin, which means that it has a good chance of being cured because, in most cases, it is possible to remove all the tumor cells only with surgery, especially if is diagnosed in the early stages of development.

This type of cancer is more common after the age of 40, especially in people with fair skin, blond hair and light eyes, who are exposed to excessive sunlight. However, basal cell carcinoma can appear at any age and, therefore, it is important to know how to identify the first signs of skin cancer, to be aware of any changes.

Photo of basal cell carcinoma on the face

Photo of basal cell carcinoma on the face

Main symptoms

This type of cancer develops mainly in parts of the body that are most exposed to sunlight, such as the face or neck, showing signs such as:

  • Small wound that does not heal or bleeds repeatedly;
  • Small elevation in the whitish-colored skin, where it may be possible to observe blood vessels;
  • Small brown or red spot that increases over time;

These signs should be observed by a dermatologist and, if cancer is suspected, a biopsy may be necessary to remove some tissue from the lesion and assess for malignant cells.

If the spot on the skin has characteristics such as very irregular edges, asymmetry or a size that grows very quickly over time, it may also indicate a case of melanoma, for example, which is the most serious type of cancer in the skin.Learn how to identify melanoma.

Possible causes

Basal cell carcinoma occurs when the cells on the outside of the skin undergo a genetic change and reproduce in a disorderly way, leading to the appearance of lesions on the body, especially on the face.

This abnormal cell growth is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays that are emitted by sunlight or tanning lamps. However, people who have not been exposed to the sun can have basal cell carcinoma and, in these cases, there is no well-defined cause.

Types of basal cell carcinoma

There are several types of basal cell carcinoma, which may include:

  • Nodular basal cell carcinoma: most common type, mainly affects the skin of the face and usually appears as a sore in the center of a red spot;
  • Superficial basal cell carcinoma: mainly affects body regions such as the back and trunk, and can be confused with skin erythema, or redness;
  • Infiltrative basal cell carcinoma: is the most aggressive carcinoma, reaching other parts of the body;
  • Pigmented carcinoma: is characterized by having darker spots, being more difficult to differentiate from melanoma.

The types of basal cell carcinoma are differentiated according to the characteristics they present and, therefore, can be difficult to identify. So, whenever you suspect skin cancer, due to the presence of a doubtful spot on the skin, for example, you should always consult a dermatologist.

How the treatment is done

Treatment is performed, in most cases, through laser surgery or application of cold at the site of the lesion, to eliminate and remove all malignant cells, preventing them from continuing to develop.

After that, it is important to have several check-up visits, to do new tests and assess whether the cancer continues to grow or if it has completely cured.If you have been cured, it is only necessary to go back to the doctor once a year, to ensure that no more signs appear.

However, when surgery is not enough to treat the cancer and the carcinoma continues to grow, it may be necessary to have a few sessions of radiotherapy or chemotherapy to delay the evolution and eliminate the malignant cells that continue to multiply. Check out more details about skin cancer treatment.

What to do to prevent it

To prevent basal cell carcinoma from developing, it is recommended to use sunscreen with a protection factor greater than 30, as well as avoiding sun exposure at times when ultraviolet rays are very intense, wearing protective hats and clothing UV, apply lip balm with sunscreen and do not use artificial tanning.

In addition, care should be taken with children and babies, such as applying age-appropriate sunscreen, as they are more susceptible to the negative effects of ultraviolet radiation.

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