Basal cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer. The good news is that it is rarely fatal. However, it is a malignant cancer nonetheless, as it causes significant cell/tissue destruction and/or disfigurement. This form of cancer is commonly found on a person’s neck and face, although it can also be found on the torso.
The main cause of basal cell carcinoma is exposure to the sun. People over 40 years of age are particularly susceptible to this form of cancer, although young people can get it as well. Medical experts have noted individuals who get sunburned easily are more likely to get this form of cancer than people who have dark skin and/or hair.
This form of cancer can also be hereditary. If a person has one or more close relatives who have had skin cancer, then he or she is likely to get skin cancer as well.
It is important to be on the lookout for symptoms of this form of cancer. A person who has this type of cancer may have a spot on his or her flesh that is pearly, waxy, light or brown in appearance. Sometimes an old acne scar, scab or spot of eczema can be mistaken for skin cancer, as can non-cancerous moles. However, a sore that has become cancerous will not heal naturally and in fact may start to grow in size. This also applies to moles and other skin growths that may at first appear to be harmless.
A person who has an unusual skin growth should have it checked out right away. Medical professionals will do a skin biopsy and perform other tests to determine whether or not the growth is cancerous. The sooner the cancer is treated, the easier it is to cure and the less chance there is of having to deal with permanent disfigurement on a visible part of the body.
As was noted above, basal cell carcinoma is not fatal and it can be cured. Some treatment options for those who have this form of cancer include surgical excision, radiation and chemotherapy. However, it is important to catch this cancer early, before it causes extensive damage. Avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is wise, as it wearing sunscreen throughout the hot summer months. Furthermore, odd moles, scabs and dry patches of skin should be checked by a professional as soon as possible, as these could be symptoms of this or another form of skin cancer.