Basal cell cancer is also called basal cell carcinoma. It is a type of skin cancer that is usually because you have been in the sun a lot. Basal cell cancer rarely spreads, unlike other cancers. It is still important to get treatment. Almost everyone who gets treatment gets rid of the disease.
Basal cell cancer is the most common form of skin cancer. Then comes squamous cell cancer and malignant melanoma.
The risk of basal cell cancer is small before the age of 40 but increases as you get older.
Symptoms of Basal Cell Cancer
The most common symptom of basal cell cancer is a new nodule, a reddish spot or a wound that does not heal. Usually, the change is in the face or upper part of the chest or back.
Basal cell scans grow very slowly. Over time, wounds that often heal from time to time often occur, so you may think the problem is over.
The symptoms of basal cell cancer sometimes have causes other than cancer. Here you will find out more about benign skin changes.
There are also other types of skin cancer, such as squamous cell cancer and malignant melanoma.
Three different types of basal cell cancer
There are different types of basal cell cancer. They differ in the way they grow, their appearance and how deep down the skin the cancer is.
Superficial basal cell cancer
Superficial, or superficial, basal cell cancer looks like a blush spot. Sometimes it may look like an eczema stain that does not heal even if you lubricate it.
Surface basal cell cancer is most common on the chest or back, but it can also sit on the face.
Knotted basal cell cancer
Knot-shaped or nodular, basal cell cancer grows deeper into the skin. It is marked as a clearly defined knot. It can be the same color as your own skin or be slightly red and slightly translucent with small red blood vessels in it.
The entire cancer tumor may be raised or it will have a raised edge and wounds and crusts in the middle.
The cancer tumor usually sits on the face or neck, but can also sit on the upper body.
Aggressive basal cell cancer
Aggressive, infiltrative or morphine basal cell cancer grows deeper and is more difficult to delineate. The cancerous tumor can look like a hard, white-shaded, flat skin change and resemble a scar. Sometimes it is difficult to see cancer or to determine how big it is by just looking at it. Sometimes one or more wounds are formed.
It is common for the cancer tumor to sit on the face, around the nose or around the eyes.
When and where should I seek care?
If you think you have a basal cell cancer, contact a health center or skin clinic. You can contact many receptions by logging in.
Contact a health care center as soon as possible if you have a change such as bleeding, growing rapidly or growing at any height, regardless of the color of the change. You do not need to seek care elsewhere if it is closed. Wait until the health center opens.
You can get dressed and put on a breeze. The doctor examines all the spots and changes on the skin. A skin microscope, also called dermatoscope, is used at skin clinics and many health centers. The dermatoscopy provides a more detailed image.
Experienced doctors can often see directly if a change is basal cell cancer. Sometimes the doctor needs to take a tissue test, a so-called skin biopsy. It takes a few minutes. You get local anesthesia.
Treatment for Basal Cell Cancer
It is important that the basal cell cancer is removed or destroyed so that it does not grow and damage the skin around it. There are different treatment methods. The type of treatment basal cell cancer used depends on the type of disease you have and where on the body it sits.
The change is cut off while you are anesthetized locally. It is usually possible to sew the wound together directly. Skin plastic or skin transplants may be needed to cover the wound if a large piece of the skin has been removed. You can go home the same day. The wound heals after one to two weeks. It may take another week if you have had a skin transplant.
After the operation, the change in a microscope is examined. The study provides a secure diagnosis and can show if everything that needed to be operated has been removed.
Scraping and burning
First, you get local anesthesia. Then the change is scrapped away. The dermatologist then uses an instrument with an electric current to burn off any cancerous residue. What has been scrapped is sent to the laboratory if needed to confirm the diagnosis. The wound after treatment can take four to six weeks to heal.
The dermatologist sprays liquid nitrogen on the skin change so that the cancer cells die. The cancer tumor can be scraped first if it is thick. Then you get local anesthesia. The wound after treatment can take four to six weeks to heal.
Photodynamic therapy, PDT
First, you get an ointment that makes the cancer cells photosensitive. After three hours, you receive treatment with a special light for about eight to ten minutes so that the cancer cells die. It can hurt but you can get help with relieving the pain. Treatment needs to be repeated again after one to two weeks. After each treatment, the skin area becomes sore and red. It usually heals after ten to fourteen days.
The ointment treatment can be used if the basal cell cancer is superficial. The ointment stimulates the immune system to repel cancer. The treatment lasts about six weeks. The wounds that occur heal ten to fourteen days after the end of treatment.
It is unusual, but sometimes basal cell cancer can be treated with radiation in small doses. You can get radiation if the cancer is not operable.
You can get treatment again if cancer comes back
It is called relapse if the disease recurs. Relapse can also be treated, either by the same method as the first time or another method is selected. But most people get rid of the disease after the first treatment.
The risk of relapse is between a few percents and ten percent.
Do I need to go after checking?
Sometimes you need to go for post-checks. It depends on what type of cancer tumor you have had, where it was put and what treatment you received. During the checks, the doctor examines the scar and other skin.
Good to quit smoking
If you smoke, the winnings are many to stop before an operation. The wounds heal faster, blood circulation and fitness improve so you recover faster. The best thing is to quit smoking completely, but if it fails, it is good if you can refrain from smoking before the surgery and even the first weeks afterward. If you need help to quit smoking, your doctor can tell you what support is available.
What does basal cell cancer depend on?
Basal cell cancer is a cancer of a kind of cells in the skin called keratinocytes.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays cause damage to the cells that can lead to cancer. It is the largest external risk factor for basal cell cancer.
In contrast, basal cell cancer is unusual on the top of the hands, which is exposed to a lot of suns.
Some people get basal cell cancer on skin areas that have not been so much in the sun.
Thus, there may be more causes for basal cell cancer that are not clear. Hereditary factors can also be important.
How can I reduce the risk of basal cell cancer?
Protect yourself from UV radiation
Protect yourself from too much ultraviolet radiation, UV radiation.
Be vigilant about skin changes
Be sure to be examined by a doctor if you find any new nodes, blushing changes or wounds that do not heal by themselves.
You may need to be extra careful
Take special care with the sun if one or more of the following points are true of you:
- You have light skin and red or light hair. Then you have pigments that give the skin lower protection against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
- You are taking immunosuppressive drugs. Then the body has a reduced ability to care for sun-damaged skin cells. You will receive immunosuppressive drugs if, for example, you have had an organ transplant.
- You have had basal cell cancer in the past.
It is unclear if the risk of basal cell cancer is increased if you sunbathe in a solarium, however, it increases the risk of malignant melanoma. Therefore, it is good to avoid sunbathing.
Getting a cancer message
Basal cell cancer is almost never life-threatening. Knowing that you have cancer can still cause concern and raise many questions. Take some time to talk to your doctor and other healthcare professionals about what the disease means. You can also ask to have the information written down so you can read it peacefully. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You have the right to receive information in your own language. You also have the right to receive interpreting assistance if you have a hearing impairment.
In many hospitals, there are special nurses called contact nurses who can provide additional support and also help with various practical things. You can also contact for example Cancer Counseling or Cancer Foundation.