Basal Cell Carcinoma Screenings for Volusia and Flagler Counties
The Most Frequently Occurring Form of Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It occurs most frequently on sun-exposed regions of the body. Although this skin cancer rarely spreads (metastasizes) to other organs of the body, it can cause severe destruction of surrounding tissue. Thus early detection and treatment are needed.
Most basal cell carcinomas are caused by chronic sun exposure, especially in people with fair skin, light hair and blue, green or grey eyes. In a few instances, there are other contributing factors such as burns, exposure to radiation, arsenical intoxication, or chronic dermatitis.
Basal cell carcinoma may have several different appearances on your skin. Some warning signs that may indicate you have basal cell carcinoma are an open sore, a reddish patch, a growth with an elevated border and a central indentation, a bump, or nodule and a scar-like area.
How Can We Protect Ourselves?
Because chronic overexposure to sunlight is the leading cause of basal cell carcinoma, sun avoidance, especially during peak sunlight hours, is an important preventative measure to help reduce the risk of developing this skin cancer.
Limit skin exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats, and sun protective clothing. Most importantly, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, rated SPF-30 or higher, on all exposed skin, including the lips, even on cloudy days. Reapply sunscreen frequently. Additionally, avoid tanning parlors and artificial tanning devices as they increase your risk as well.
Inspect your entire body regularly for any skin changes, especially those already mentioned, and routinely visit your dermatologist for a skin examination.
The Treatment Options
After sections of tissue from a biopsy of your skin are assessed under a microscope by a dermatopathologist and determined to be basal cell carcinoma, your dermatologist will discuss several treatment options. Your physician's choice of therapy depends on the size, location and subtype of basal cell carcinoma. The patient's age and general health are also taken into consideration. The more common treatment options include excisional surgery, electrosurgery and radiation therapy. Your dermatologist will discuss these treatment options with you.
Don't Become a Statistic
Not only is basal cell carcinoma the most common form of skin cancer, it is the most common of all cancers, affecting nearly 1,000,000 Americans each year. Men are affected more often than women. Basal cell carcinomas generally tend to occur in older individuals, although they may occur in young adults and even children. People with one basal cell carcinoma have a greater chance of developing others, thus emphasizing the importance of regular follow-up visits to a dermatologist.
References: Greenway, H.T., & C.M. Peterson. 1998. Treatment Guidelines for Basal Cell Carcinoma: The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal 16: 16-17, 81./ Weedon, D. 1997. Skin Pathology New York: Chruchill Livingston