Basal cell skin cancer, also known as basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells of the skin. The basal cells are responsible for creating new skin cells as the old ones die off.
This cancer is mostly seen as a shiny bump, although it can be seen in similar other forms as well. This cancer most often affects the skin which is mostly exposed to the sun, such as the arms, face and neck.
Most of the basal cell skin cancers are suspected to be caused due to prolonged exposure to the ultra-violet (UV) rays in the sunlight. Prevention of basal cell skin cancer can be done by avoiding the sun as much as possible or using a sunscreen when going outside.
Signs and Symptoms of Basal Cell Skin Cancer
The commonly seen signs and symptoms of basal cell skin cancer are:
- Waxy/pearly-white bump – This bump is often noticed in the blood vessels of the face, ears or neck. The bump might also bleed and develop a hard crust over it on drying.
- Flat/scaly brown patch – This can be mostly seen in the back or the chest. This gradually develops into larger patches covering the entire region.
- White/waxy scar – This is seen rarely and can be easily overlooked.
The generally seen sign of basal cell skin cancer is mostly a sore that will not heal, or it bleeds and scabs perpetually.
Basal cell skin cancers are mostly seen on the sun-exposed parts of the body such as the head and the neck, although a smaller number of basal cell carcinoma can appear on the trunks and legs as well. In very rare cases, the basal cell skin cancer may also grow in places on the body that are not exposed to the sun.
What are the causes of Basal Cell Skin Cancer?
Basal cell skin cancer mostly occurs when the skin’s basal cells develop a mutation in the gene (DNA). These cells are located in the lowermost layer of the epidermis (skin) and are responsible for production of new skin cells to replace the older ones at the surface of the skin.
The basal cell’s DNA control the rate of production of the new skin cells and a mutation (change) in this DNA results in uncontrolled multiplication of the new skin cells which are not in proportion to the rate the older skin cells are dying. This excessive production of new skin cells causes the formation of cancers (tumors) in the skin.
Most of the mutation in the DNA of the basal skin cells is suspected to be caused due to prolonged exposure to the UV radiation in sunlight, as well as in commercial tanning beds and lamps. Other (yet unknown) factors are also suspected to be the cause of basal cell skin cancer as the development of this disease on the parts of the skin not normally exposed to sunlight cannot be due to the UV radiation in the sunlight.
What are the risk factors associated with Basal Cell Skin Cancer?
These are several factors that are known to increase the chances of the development of basal cell skin cancer in a person:
- Prolonged sun exposure – extended amount of time in the sun or a tanning bed increase the risk of basal cell skin cancer. Living in a high-altitude or sunny climate can also increase this risk.
- Radiation – certain treatment methods that use radiation techniques are also risk factors that increase the chances of basal cell skin cancer and other forms of skin carcinoma as well.
- Complexion – Fair-complexioned people are at more risk of developing basal cell skin cancer.
- Gender – Men are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer than women.
- Heredity – Basal cell skin cancer is also caused when the patient has a family history of the disease in close relatives.
- Immunosuppressant – These are medications that are mostly required after an organ transplant surgery, and are known to increase the risk of basal cell skin cancer.
- Arsenic – Exposure to arsenic (which is a toxic and common metal) can also increase the risk of basal cell skin cancer.
How is Basal Cell Skin Cancer diagnosed?
The doctor may perform the following tests to detect and diagnose basal cell skin cancer:
Skin examination – Examination of the suspected cancerous region of the skin may help reveal further details about its nature.
Biopsy – This involves removing a small part of the suspected piece of skin to be sent to the pathological laboratory for detailed analysis. This helps to confirm the presence of, as well as the type, of the basal cell skin carcinoma. These diagnostic details are important in planning the best-suited treatment for the patient.
How is Basal Cell Skin Cancer treated?
There are several types of treatment methods available for basal cell skin cancer, such as:
- Electrodessication and Curettage (ED&C) – This involves removing the surface portion of the skin cancer with a curette (scraping instrument) and then cauterizing the base of the cancer with an electric needle. This is ideal for smaller forms of cancers that are located in the legs and ears.
- Surgical Excision – This procedure requires the oncologist to remove the cancerous tissue (tumor) as well as a portion of the surrounding skin using surgical technique. This is ideally used to treat a large basal cell carcinoma.
- Freezing – This technique involves using cryosurgery to freeze and destroy the cancerous cells on the skin using intense cold (liquid nitrogen). This is ideal for basal cell skin cancers that are not deep and mostly superficial.
- Mohs surgery – This involves removing the cancerous skin layer by layer after examining each layer in detail under a microscope. This procedure is repeated until there are no more cancerous cells visible in the skin layers at the cancer-affected region.
- Topical Treatment – Basal cell skin cancer which is superficial in nature and does not reach deep into the epidermis can be treated using a number of ointments and creams that are available on the doctor’s prescription.
Why choose Travcure for Basal Cell Skin Cancer treatment in India?
Travcure is renowned as the best and most convenient medical tourism service provider in India with a reach various countries around the globe. Travcure is connected to a large network of comprehensive and global-class hospitals and clinics that specialize in cancer treatment and prevention as well as rehabilitation using the most advanced and modern treatment techniques and methods. Travcure offers every patient with the best and most effective basal cell skin cancer treatment in India at the most affordable cost to the patient.