Continuing with Skin Cancer Awareness Month, lets talk about Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common of the skin cancers. Fortunately, is it also the least aggressive and least likely to spread to other organs. This does not mean you should ignore it or allow it to grow unchecked. Once diagnosed, there are great treatment options available.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal cells are the deepest layer of cells in your dermis and they produce new skin cells. Basal cell carcinoma occurs once these cells grow uncontrolled. They are classically described as a growth with rolled edges and a pearly appearance. However, they can also appear scar-like, irritated, or as an open-sore that never seems to heal. Patients will often mistake these cancers for sores or another skin condition, like psoriasis. A dermatologist should look at these growths for diagnosis as they are deceiving.
Why Does it Occur?
You guessed it, UV exposure. Get out that sunscreen again because sun exposure is definitely the biggest culprit. Other risk factors include advancing age, male sex, family history, inflammatory skin conditions, and taking immunosuppressive drugs. Once you have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, it is likely that you will have more in the future.
Fortunately, most basal cell carcinomas are removed with one procedure. First, the lesion will be biopsied and treatment will depend on the type of basal cell cancer. Some are simply removed in your dermatologist office, while others may need a specialized procedure to ensure it is all removed. While the cancer itself is lower risk for metastasis (spread), these cancers can be very disfiguring if left untreated.
For any area of my body that is exposed, except my face, I use CeraVe baby SPF 45. This lotion contains ceramides so it also helps moisturize. I especially make sure to cover my arms and hands as these areas get excessive sun from driving. Hands can show a lot of sun damage as we age so protecting them from UV rays is the best way to keep them looking young! I use a different sunscreen on my face then body because the face sunscreens are usually more expensive to prevent that chalky feeling. However, this sunscreen can also be worn on your face. You can find my face sunscreen pick here.