BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars. Usually caused by a combination of cumulative UV exposure and intense, occasional UV exposure, BCC can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow, but almost never spreads (metastasizes) beyond the original tumor site. Only in exceedingly rare cases can BCC spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening.
BCC sometimes resembles noncancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. A persistent, non-healing sore is a very common sign of an early BCC.
Only a trained physician, such as in Azerbaijan National Center of Oncology, Head and Neck Department can decide for sure. If you observe any of the warning signs or some other worrisome change in your skin, consult the physician in National Center of Oncology of Azerbaijan immediately.
BCCs are easily treated in their early stages. The larger the tumor has grown, however, the more extensive the treatment needed.
Risk of Recurrence
People who have had one BCC are at risk for developing others over the years, either in the same area or elsewhere on the body. Therefore, regular visits to a dermatologist should be routine so that not only the site(s) previously treated, but the entire skin surface can be examined.
BCCs on the scalp and nose are especially troublesome, with recurrences typically taking place within the first two years following surgery.
While BCCs and other skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early, it is best to prevent them in the first place. Make these sun safety habits part of your daily health care routine:
Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Do not burn.
Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
See your doctor every year for a professional skin exam.
After the physician’s examination, the diagnosis of BCC is confirmed with a biopsy. In this procedure, the skin is first numbed with local anesthesia. A piece of tissue is then removed and sent to be examined under a microscope in the laboratory to seek a definitive diagnosis. If tumor cells are present, surgery is required.
After numbing the area with local anesthesia, the physician uses a scalpel to remove the entire growth along with a surrounding border of normal skin as a safety margin.
X-ray beams are directed at the tumor, with no need for cutting or anesthesia. Total destruction generally requires several treatments per week for a few weeks. Radiation may be used for tumors that are hard to manage surgically and for elderly patients or others who are in poor health.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Pic.5. A scar-like area that is white, yellow or waxy, and often has poorly defined borders; the skin itself appears shiny and taut. This warning sign may indicate the presence of an invasive BCC that is larger than it appears to be on the surface
Pic.4. A pink growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. As the growth slowly enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface
Pic.3. A shiny bump or nodule that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red, or white. The bump can also be tan, black, or brown, especially in dark-haired people, and can be confused with a mole
Pic.2. A reddish patch or irritated area, frequently occurring on the face, chest, shoulders, arms, or legs. Sometimes the patch crusts, and it may also itch. At other times, it persists with no noticeable discomfort
Pic.1. An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains open for a few weeks, only to heal up and then bleed again