How Dangerous Is A Basal Cell Carcinoma
While melanoma rightly deserves the attention it receives as the most dangerous form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma isnt something to brush off as harmless. Yes, this most common form of skin cancer rarely causes fatalities, but it can become quite disfiguring.
While basal cell carcinoma lesions rarely spread beyond the original tumor site, they should not be allowed to grow freely. These lesions can grow widely, penetrating deeply into the skin destroying skin, tissue, and bone. Plus, the longer you leave a basal cell carcinoma untreated, the more likely it is to come back. And because it will usually return in the same area, this can create problems removing the lesions without overly disfiguring the patient.
Where Does Bcc Develop
As the above pictures show, this skin cancer tends to develop on skin that has had lots of sun exposure, such as the face or ears. Its also common on the bald scalp and hands. Other common areas for BCC include, the shoulders, back, arms, and legs.
While rare, BCC can also form on parts of the body that get little or no sun exposure, such as the genitals.
How Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Treated
BCCs can almost always be successfully treated. Treatment will depend on the type, size and location of the BCC, and on your age and health.
If the BCC was removed during the biopsy, you may not need any further treatment. Surgery is the most common treatment for a BCC. It involves cutting out the skin spot and nearby normal-looking tissue. A pathologist will check the tissue around the skin spot to make sure the cancer has been removed. If cancer cells remain, you may need more surgery.
Other treatment options include:
- freezing the spot with liquid nitrogen to kill the cancer cells
- scraping off the spot, then using low-level electric current to seal the wound and kill cancer cells
- immunotherapy creams, liquids and lotions, to treat superficial BCCs
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Symptoms Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomas appear as rough or scaly patches on your skin. Theyre usually not painful, but they can bleed if you scratch them.
Its common to mistake squamous cell carcinoma for warts. Other times, it might look more like open sores with crusty surfaces.
Squamous cell carcinomas can be flesh-colored or red in appearance.
Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma
- Destroy the tumor with radiation. and Direct the drug to the skin or inject it into the tumor.
- Destroy cancer with a narrow laser beam. and Excision of surrounding cancers and small amounts of healthy tissue. If a large area of skin is removed, it may require a skin graft.
- Freeze cancer cells with liquid nitrogen. This treatment is usually used only for very small tumors or for a seemingly abnormal but not deteriorating skin.
- Scrape off a thin layer of cancer at a time. When it is removed, each layer is examined under a microscope. This technique can help doctors keep healthy skin as much as possible.
- Use surgical tools to scrape cancer. Electric probes are used to kill any cancer cells that remain.
Effective Options For Early And Advanced Bcc
When detected early, most basal cell carcinomas can be treated and cured. Prompt treatment is vital, because as the tumor grows, it becomes more dangerous and potentially disfiguring, requiring more extensive treatment. Certain rare, aggressive forms can be fatal if not treated promptly.
If youve been diagnosed with a small or early BCC, a number of effective treatments can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, using a local anesthetic with minimal pain. Afterwards, most wounds can heal naturally, leaving minimal scarring.
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How Do You Treat Skin Cancer On The Nose
The nose is a relatively common spot for skin cancer to develop. Skin cancer often starts on the face because it’s usually the body part that’s exposed to the sun. The two most common types of skin cancer that develop on the nose are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma . While both types of skin cancer should be addressed right away, BCC is usually slow-growing and SCC grows more quickly. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer ,with about 80% of cases occurring on the face and 25 to 30% on the nose.
The third type of skin cancer, melanoma, is rare and much more serious. It almost always requires excisional surgery to remove it. Fortunately, most forms of skin cancer are very treatable, especially when caught early. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, topical treatments, and more.
Oral Medications For Advanced Bcc
It is rare for skin cancer to reach advanced stages, but when it does, oral medications may help. In addition to chemotherapy, targeted drugs may be used to treat advanced skin cancer. Targeted therapy means that the medication is able to directly target the cancer cells without destroying healthy cells. This can help to reduce side effects from treatment.
Vismodegib and sonidegib are hedgehog pathway inhibitors that work to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading. The capsules are taken once per day and may be considered after surgery and other treatments. These medications come with several possible side effects and should never be taken during pregnancy since they can affect fetal growth.
Cetuximab is an EGFR inhibitor that can help to stop the spread of cancerous squamous cells. Its possible side effects include skin infections, diarrhea, mouth sores, and loss of appetite.
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Targeted Therapy Or Immunotherapy For Advanced Basal Cell Cancers
In rare cases where basal cell cancer spreads to other parts of the body or cant be cured with surgery or radiation therapy, a targeted drug such as vismodegib or sonidegib can often shrink or slow its growth.
If these drugs are no longer working , the immunotherapy drug cemiplimab can sometimes be helpful.
Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer With Occult Primary Is A Disease In Which Squamous Cell Cancer Spreads To Lymph Nodes In The Neck And It Is Not Known Where The Cancer First Formed In The Body
Squamous cells are thin, flat cells found in tissues that form the surface of the skin and the lining of body cavities such as the mouth, hollow organs such as the uterus and blood vessels, and the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Some organs with squamous cells are the esophagus, lungs, kidneys, and uterus. Cancer can begin in squamous cells anywhere in the body and metastasize through the blood or lymph system to other parts of the body.
When squamous cell cancer spreads to lymph nodes in the neck or around thecollarbone, it is called metastatic squamous neck cancer. The doctor will try to find the primary tumor , because treatment for metastatic cancer is the same as treatment for the primary tumor. For example, when lung cancer spreads to the neck, the cancer cells in the neck are lung cancer cells and they are treated the same as the cancer in the lung. Sometimes doctors cannot find where in the body the cancer first began to grow. When tests cannot find a primary tumor, it is called anoccult primary tumor. In many cases, the primary tumor is never found.
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Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma usually begins as a painless bump or nodule that grows slowly. Later, it becomes an open ulcer with a hard edge. Nearly 90% of basal cell carcinomas occur on the face, but they can appear on any part of the body that is sometimes exposed to the sunthe face, ears, neck, back, chest, arms, and legs.
Although basal cell carcinoma almost never spreads to other organs and is rarely fatal, it can invade surrounding tissue and be disfiguring if not treated.
Life Expectancy Of Dogs With Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma in Dogs is not to be undermined and can in a long run become detrimental and eventually lead to death if not cared for and properly managed. Inclusively, dogs diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma can be treated with surgery alone as earlier discussed.
Likewise, the survival period of Dogs suffering from this condition can span not more than 4-6 months following surgery.
Likewise, the survival period of Dogs suffering from this condition can span not more than 4-6 months following surgery. It can be longer than that depending on the level of care and treatment the dog gets. The reason has been that they eventually develop a life-limiting metastatic disease to the local lymph nodes and/or lungs.
However, Dogs that have gone through complete surgical removal of the basal cell carcinoma, as well as the administration of the vaccine, tend to have an average life expectancy of approximately 1.5 years, with about 30-40% of dogs living more than 2 years.
Nonetheless, Dogs with basal cell carcinoma located on the lip are more likely to experience longer survival times compared to tumors in other locations.
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Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Really Cancer
Base cell carcinoma is cancer that develops on sun-exposed skin. Having melanoma is a cause for concern, but keep in mind that it is the least dangerous type of skin cancer. The disease is curable if caught early.
The disease is generally fatal in dogs. If this is the case, treatment may still be prescribed to ease your pets discomfort.
Basal Cell Carcinomas Topical Treatment
Topical treatments can be successful on superficial basal cell carcinomas with little depth. These drugs work by inflaming the area where they are applied. The body responds by sending white blood cells to attack the inflammation. These white blood cells go after the mutated basal cells. Aldara, Efudex, and Fluoroplex are three of the most used drugs.
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Basal Cell Carcinoma On The Nose
Be alert to something that looks like a pimple or blemish but does not go away.
Do not pick any new growth on the nose. If its benign it should resolve within a few weeks.
If it sticks around, this doesnt mean its cancer, but it DOES mean you should have it evaluated.
Basal cell carcinoma on the nose appears as it does anywhere else on the body: a nodular-like or pimple-like growth that may be pearly white, flesh colored or pink colored. It may even be some shade of brown. It may also be flatter or patch-like.
Be especially suspicious for BCC if the growth has what appears to be red spider veins in it.
Its also important to know that a persistent pimple-like growth on ones face or nose may be a melanoma hence, the importance of an evaluation by a dermatologist.
Dr. Mamelakfocuses on the full breadth of dermatologic care, from cosmetic skin solutions to advanced skin cancer removal. Hes founder of the Austin Mohs Surgery Center, which is dedicated to the treatment and management of skin cancer.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
Top image: James Hielman, MD, CreativeCommons
Thank You To All Who Shared With The Community
Recurrence is quite common so be diligent with your sunscreen. Wear sun-protective clothing when outdoors. Enjoy some time in the sun, but be safe! This is your body, so its your job to protect it at all costs.
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Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma In Dogs
There are pointers known as signs and symptoms that will help you understand the health condition of your dog. Dog owners must pay attention to their pets at all times to monitor their behavior in case of any change.
Even though these tumors are not usually incommodious, if they develop in an area that can be scratched or chewed, there is the risk of your dog getting infected and self-trauma. As such, your pet should not be allowed to scratch, bite, or lick these areas.
If there is no swift intervention through surgery, these tumors may continue to grow and make the surgical procedure more difficult. So, we advise that it is best to have your veterinarian evaluate any abnormal growths or bumps as soon as you notice them.
What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common kind of skin cancer. It can develop almost anywhere on the body.
BCCs typically form in sun-exposed areas. They vary greatly in how they lookpink or red bumps, open sores, or waxy patches. For people with brown or black skin, BCCs may appear brown or almost black.
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Treatments For Basal Cell Carcinoma
The following are treatment options for basal cell carcinoma of the skin. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on the . They will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
BCC is most often treated with local therapy. This means that only the cancer on the skin and the area around it are treated.
But if BCC has spread to other parts of the body, systemic therapy may be used. Systemic therapy travels through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells all over the body.
Surgical Skin Cancer Treatments
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma that require surgery often can be treated with Mohs surgery. During this skin-sparing procedure, we remove as little healthy tissue as possible when we take off cancerous moles or lesions. Were working toward perfecting Mohs surgery for melanoma treatment, too.
We also offer wide local excision surgery. This is the most common melanoma treatment. In this procedure, we remove the cancerous lesion and some of the healthy tissue around it. This helps ensure we remove as many cancerous cells as possible.
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What Are The Risks Of Cryotherapy
Serious side effects are rare.3 Cryotherapy does not usually leave a scar. It can cause discoloration in the treated area. The discoloration may improve over several months, but it can be permanent.1 You also may have permanent hair loss in the area. Loss of sensation in the treated area is rare. If it does occur, it can take up to 18 months to regain sensation.1
What Happens If Precancers Go Untreated
As the name suggests, precancers are damaged skin cells that arent considered cancerous, but if they are left untreated, these lesions are at high risk to become skin cancer. There are two main types of precancerous skin conditions: actinic keratosis and dysplastic nevi. Actinic keratosis looks like a rough, scaly patch of the skin that is usually red or brown. This condition may develop into squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated.
Nevi are moles, and dysplastic nevi is a term that means a mole is abnormal. Dysplastic nevi may develop into melanoma without proper treatment. While precancerous skin cancers are not malignant on their own, the potential to develop into life-threatening forms of this condition means they need to be evaluated regularly.
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Can You Die From Basal Cell Carcinoma
Death from either basal cell or squamous cell cancers is quite rare. Statistics for these types of skin cancer arent tracked by cancer registries, so its difficult to have specific numbers, but its thought that less than 2,000 people in the U.S. die from both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas each year.
These deaths are predominantly in elderly people who have not had their skin checked in a long time and cancer has grown quite large.
Considering there are over 4 million diagnosed cases of basal cell carcinoma each year in the U.S. , the risk of death from this form of skin cancer is quite low.
Is It Necessary To Have Basal Cell Carcinoma Removed
Is it necessary to have basal cell carcinoma removed? When detected early, most basal cell carcinomas can be treated and cured. Prompt treatment is vital, because as the tumor grows, it becomes more dangerous and potentially disfiguring, requiring more extensive treatment. Certain rare, aggressive forms can be fatal if not treated promptly.
What happens if basal cell carcinoma is left untreated? If left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can become quite large, cause disfigurement, and in rare cases, spread to other parts of the body and cause death. Your skin covers your body and protects it from the environment. Your skin is composed of three major layers, the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.
What happens if you dont have a BCC removed? Without treatment, a basal cell carcinoma could grow slowly to encompass a large area of skin on your body. In addition, basal cell carcinoma has the potential to cause ulcers and permanently damage the skin and surrounding tissues.
Does basal cell carcinoma have to be removed? Basal cell carcinoma is most often treated with surgery to remove all of the cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.
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Warning Signs Of Basal Cell Carcinoma That You Could Mistake As Harmless
Warning sign: A pink or reddish growth that dips in the centerCan be mistaken for: A skin injury or acne scar
A pink or reddish growth that dips in the center
The BCC on this patients cheek could be mistaken for a minor skin injury.
Warning sign: A growth or scaly patch of skin on or near the earCan be mistaken for: Scaly, dry skin, minor injury, or scar
A growth or scaly patch of skin on or near the ear
BCC often develops on or near an ear, and this one could be mistaken for a minor skin injury.
Warning sign: A sore that doesn’t heal and may bleed, ooze, or crust overCan be mistaken for: Sore or pimple
A sore that doesn’t heal, or heals and returns
This patient mistook the BCC on his nose for a non-healing pimple.
Warning sign: A scaly, slightly raised patch of irritated skin, which could be red, pink, or another colorCan be mistaken for: Dry, irritated skin, especially if it’s red or pink
A scaly, slightly raised patch of irritated skin
This BCC could be mistaken for a patch of dry, irritated skin.
Warning sign: A round growth that may be pink, red, brown, black, tan, or the same color as your skinCan be mistaken for: A mole, wart, or other harmless growth.
A round growth that may be same color as your skin
Would you recognize this as a skin cancer, or would you dismiss it as a harmless growth on your face?