The most common of all the types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma affects seventy five percent of all skin cancer sufferers. This was at one time a disease mostly of older men, particularly those who had been in outdoor careers like construction workers. Studies are showing changes in this trend in recent years, with more woman developing basal cell carcinoma, and the age of discovery of this disease lowering somewhat, but more old men are still affected. At times it may develop in places that are not believed to be sun related. These places may include vaccination sites or burn sites, scarred areas, and tattoos.
The main cause of this disease is thought to be over exposure to the suns ultra violet rays. It is usually found on the scalp, face, and upper torso. Those most at risk for this skin cancer are people with fair skin, who have blond or red hair and blue, grey or green eyes. As well, people whose jobs require them to be out side and so exposed to the suns ultra violets rays for long periods of time like exterior house painters, construction workers, oilrig workers or linesmen. People who insist, despite the constant warnings, on sunbathing without protection are also stricken.
Basal Cell Symptoms
If you notice a sore which remains open, or reopens and does not heal after three to four weeks, go see your health care provider. If you become aware of a reddish area that looks wrong, maybe appears crusty and alternates between itchy and painful, get that checked out. These spots are usually found on the chest, limbs or shoulders.
The third type of symptom is a glossy protuberance almost transparent in appearance. It can be almost any color, tan, brown pink red or brown. This is more common in dark haired people and looks so much like a mole that it is often mistaken for one. Another sore to watch for is pink in color with a raised edge and is lower in the center of it. All of these should send you to your dermatologist or other health care provider. This last one is the most serious problem. It often looks like nothing more than a scar and is white or yellow in color. The skin appears shiny and stretched tightly. This one is often a sign of a tumor. If you notice a sore like this immediately see a physician.
If your health care provider suspects that one of these is cancerous they will take a biopsy to confirm this suspicion. If they are right and their patient has basal cell carcinoma then they will schedule surgery straight away to remove the growth and discuss a treatment plan with you.