Basal Cell Carcinoma

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Overview

Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are the two most common types of skin cancer.

Melanoma, sometimes known as malignant melanoma, is a kind of skin cancer that develops from pigment-producing melanocytes. Skin cancers that aren’t malignant are classified as non-melanoma skin cancer.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma are the most prevalent non-melanoma skin cancers.

It begins in the basal cells, a kind of skin cell that creates new skin cells when the old ones die.

Basal Cell Carcinoma usually appears as a small, translucent lump on the skin, but it can also occur differently. It is most common in sun-exposed skin parts, such as the head, face, neck and ears.

 This condition is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for over 80% of all cases.

 In India, however, the reported incidence of skin cancer is less than 1%.

 How do you diagnose Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)?

 The doctor or dermatologist will conduct a medical history and exam to assess any growths or changes in the skin.

General examination

The doctor will perform a basic physical examination and ask questions about the patient’s medical history, skin issues and any other indications or symptoms they’ve had.

Test skin sample

The doctor may perform a skin biopsy, which includes extracting a tiny sample of a lesion for laboratory testing. This will determine whether they have skin cancer and, if so, what type.

 The nature and size of the lesion will determine the sort of skin biopsy needed.

 What are the causes?

 Basal Cell Carcinoma is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or a tanning bed.

 When UV rays contact your skin, they can damage the DNA in your skin cells over time.

 DNA holds the code for how these cells will develop. Damage to the DNA can lead to cancer development over time, and this form of cancer takes years to grow.

 Basal Cell Carcinoma can also develop when burns, scars or ulcers have damaged the skin.

 BCC is not an infectious disease, and it mainly affects fair-skinned adults. However, it can also affect people with darker skin in rare cases.

 Risk factors

 Several characteristics increase the chances of having Basal Cell Carcinoma, including:

  •  Light skin
  • Genetic history
  • Skin that quickly burns or freckles
  • Inheriting abnormalities of the endocrine glands, neurological system and skin
  • People with pale complexion, blonde or red hair, and light-coloured eyes
  • Radiation therapy
  • Severe sunburn as a child
  • Sunbathing regularly
  • Living in a bright environment or at a high latitude

Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma is most commonly found in sun-exposed body parts, particularly the head and neck. Basal Cell Carcinoma can also develop on parts of the body that are typically unexposed to the sun, such as the genitals, although this is rare.

A change in the skin, such as a growth or an unhealed lesion, could signify Basal Cell Carcinoma.

One or more of the following traits commonly describe these skin changes (lesions):

A translucent, shiny skin-coloured bump

 On white skin, the bump might seem pearly white or pink. On brown and black skin, the bump appears dark or glossy black. On dark and black skin, tiny blood vessels may also be visible. However, they may be difficult to notice.

A brown, black, or blue lesion

The lesion comes with a slightly elevated, transparent border or a lesion with dark dots.

A scaly patch with a raised border that is flat and scaly

 Over time, these patches may become rather significant.

A scar-like white waxy lesion

 The lesion has no clearly defined boundary.

Types of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma has four primary clinical types. They are nodular, superficial spreading, sclerosing and pigmented.

a) Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma

The clinical manifestation of nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma is a transparent nodule with prominent telangiectatic vessels. As the nodule becomes larger than 1 cm, the core may break down, resulting in an ulcer with a rolled edge.

Basal Cell Carcinomas with nodular growths are common on the face, especially along embryonal fusion planes like the inner corners, peri-nasal skin and peri-auricular skin. They can also appear anywhere on the body that has been exposed to the intense sun for an extended period.

b) Superficial Spreading Basal Cell Carcinoma

Superficial spreading Basal Cell Carcinoma occurs commonly on the upper back. It comprises shallow plaques that range in colour from pink to virtually skin colour and steadily increase over time. These lesions are often highly fragile, and little stress, such as running a fingernail across them, can result in several microscopic bleeding patches.

Sun damage is nearly always the cause of superficial spreading Basal Cell Carcinomas.

c) Sclerosing Basal Cell Carcinoma

Sclerosing Basal Cell Carcinoma is a common diagnostic challenge. The early stage of the lesion may appear as a small white scar on the skin. This scar-like region gradually grows larger.

Basal Cell Carcinoma nodules can be seen in late lesions, but the sclerotic scarred region can grow to a great extent before clinically visible as skin cancer. It is most frequent on the face, and because of its magnitude at the time of diagnosis, it can potentially cause morbidity.

d) Pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma

 Dark-skinned people, particularly Asians, are more likely to develop pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma. Pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma is a rare variation of nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma that contains brown-black macules in specific locations or covers practically the whole tumour, making it difficult to distinguish from melanoma in some cases.

Advanced Stage

Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most prevalent skin cancer. Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma is a more sophisticated variant of BCC. It’s commonly caused by long periods of unprotected sun exposure.

However, environmental and lifestyle variables, some medications, and your DNA can all affect your health. A doctor can assist in determining the best course of action.

Treatment for BCC

The purpose is to eliminate cancer with as little scarring as possible. The doctor will examine the size and location of the cancer and how long it has been there before deciding on the best therapy. They’ll also consider the possibility of scarring and your overall health.

 The following are some of the therapy options:

  1. Excisional surgery 
  2. The tumour will next be scraped using a spoon-shaped instrument.
  3. The tumour and a small surrounding region of normal-appearing skin will then be taken off and sent to a lab.

If the doctor discovers cancer cells in the region around the tumour, they may need to remove more skin.

  • Curretage or electrodessication
  • The doctor first numbs the skin.
  • The tumour is then scraped away with a curette, an instrument with a spoon-like form.
  • Your doctor uses an electric needle to stop the bleeding and eliminate any remaining cancer cells.

Cryosurgery

Most tumours that do not penetrate deep into the skin are treated with cryosurgery, and the doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy cancer cells. But sometimes, nerve damage may occur in the application area, and patients may lose sensation.

Mohs micrographic surgery

 In this surgery, the doctor removes the cancer layer by layer, inspecting each layer under a microscope until no abnormal cells are left. This allows the surgeon to guarantee that the whole tumour is removed while preserving healthy skin in the surrounding area.

 If the Basal Cell Carcinoma has a higher chance of returning, such as if it’s bigger, has penetrated deeper into the skin, or is on the face, Mohs surgery may be recommended.

Natural Remedies for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Hydrogen peroxide

Using oxygenation, hydrogen peroxide helps treat the affected area. The oxygen produces a favourable environment for the cancer cells to die naturally.

Here’s what patients need to do

  • Soak a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the malignant area until it becomes saturated and white.
  • Then cover the cancerous area with another cotton swab soaked in hydrogen peroxide.
  • Keep it until it dries.

 Patients should continue this treatment at least once a day.

 Vitamin C

 Vitamin C helps the body eliminate malignant cells while leaving healthy ones. Vitamin C contains antioxidants that protect the skin and the entire body.

  •  Patients can prepare a solution of Vitamin C and dimethyl sulfoxide.
  • They should then apply this to the affected areas of the body several times a day for about three weeks.

 Baking soda

 Because it’s an alkaline agent, baking soda is a good treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma. It alters the pH of the afflicted area of the body, making it more difficult for cancer cells to grow.

  •  Patients can make a paste out of baking soda, water or coconut oil and apply it to the malignant area of the body once or twice a day.
  • They should allow it to dry before removing it.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a wonderful antioxidant for natural therapies for skin cancer. It protects the skin and capillaries from free radical damage, absorbs UV light energy, has anti-inflammatory effects, and boosts their protection ability.

 Almonds and nuts, sunflower seeds and spinach are good sources of vitamin E.

Apple cider vinegar

 Apple cider vinegar is nutrient-dense, including potassium and several helpful enzymes. These nutrients aid in the regeneration of soft tissue in the body, and ACV also helps to alkalise the body, allowing the body to fight cancer naturally.

This remedy works well as a topical application and an oral supplement.

  • Patients can swab the afflicted area with ACV or soak a cotton pad in ACV and keep it on the affected area until dry.
  • In addition, at least once a day, patients can drink a tonic made from 1-2 teaspoons of ACV diluted in 8 ounces of distilled water.

Folic acid

According to doctors, people can treat Basal Cell Carcinoma by taking about 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid per day.

Selenium

Many studies have indicated that taking selenium orally or topically can assist the body in eliminating free radicals in the body, lowering the risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma. As a result, it serves as a preventative measure. For someone who has Basal Cell Carcinoma, they should take 100 micrograms of selenium every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit COX-2, a molecule that promotes the growth of skin cancer. They’re also supposed to lower inflammation, which has been related to cancer development.

Fatty fish, including herring, albacore tuna, salmon, sardines, walnuts and flaxseeds, are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Zinc

Zinc supports the immune system’s ability to combat cancer and illness and assists in the activation of specific antioxidants in the body.

They have shown this natural cure in studies to boost the number of proteins involved in DNA repair and lower the sort of DNA damage that leads to cancer.

Beef, lamb, seafood, chickpeas, and black beans are high in zinc.

Pancreatic enzymes

It would be best if these enzymes were taken between meals. They tear down scar tissue and aid the body’s fight against Basal Cell Carcinoma when released into the circulation.

If someone has Basal Cell Carcinoma, their pancreas is most likely not functioning correctly. The enzymes assist the pancreas digesting proteins, which helps to combat Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Frankincense oil

Frankincense oil has long been used as a medicinal agent throughout cultures, but it’s also known for its cancer-fighting properties for breast, bladder and skin cancers.

Black raspberry seed oil

Blackberry seeds are thought to kill cancer cells and are recognised for their immune-boosting effects and their capacity to target cancers.

Myrrh oil

One of the most effective natural remedies is myrrh oil. It can be used to treat various disorders, including prostate cancer and breast cancer, in addition to Basal Cell Carcinoma. It’s very safe to use on the skin. If patients have sensitive skin, they can use a carrier oil like coconut oil to apply it.

Eggplant extract

According to research published in Cancer Letters, purple eggplant extract was an effective therapy for keratosis, Basal Cell Carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.

Eggplant extract creams containing 10% solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides have been used as a topical skin cancer therapy home remedy since 1825.

Word of caution- Discretion is advised. Though there are many natural remedies out there, make sure you consult with your doctor or physician before you decide to use them.  

Complications of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma can cause a variety of complications, including:

  • There’s a chance it’ll happen again. Even after effective therapy, Basal Cell Carcinomas sometimes recur.
  • Other forms of skin cancer are more likely to develop. Basal Cell Carcinoma may raise the risk of getting other forms of skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Cancer that has spread beyond the skin’s surface. In a tiny percentage of cases, Basal Cell Carcinoma can spread (metastasise) to adjacent lymph nodes and other body parts, such as the bones and lungs.

Preventing Basal Cell Carcinoma

You can lower your risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma by doing the following:

Avoid unnecessary sun exposure

The sun’s rays are brightest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in many places. Even during winter or when the sky is hazy, schedule outside activities for other times of the day.

Wear sunscreen all year round

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously and repeat every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating a lot.

Wear protective clothing

Dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat that provides more excellent protection than a baseball cap or visor should be worn to protect your skin.

Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses. Those that block both UVA and UVB rays are what you look for.

Avoid using tanning beds

UV radiation from tanning beds might raise your risk of skin cancer.

Keep an eye on your skin and let your doctor know if anything changes. Regularly check your skin for new skin growths or changes in moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks. Using mirrors, examine your face, neck, ears and scalp.

Have a balanced diet

The foods you consume are as important as skin care treatments. A decent, balanced diet can help you enhance your skin’s health from the inside out. As a result, eating a nutritious diet is the first step toward having good skin.

You may incorporate a variety of healthful meals in your meal planning. Mangoes, for example, have antioxidants that help preserve your skin’s collagen. Tomatoes can help prevent cancer by lowering the risk of skin cancer by up to 50% following exposure to UV radiation.

Manage stress

One of today’s silent killers is stress. People under a lot of stress are more likely to suffer skin problems.

Aside from that, people under a lot of stress are more likely to develop severe acne.

Reduced stress levels can aid in the appearance of clearer skin. Consider calming activities such as meditation, yoga and tai chi if you live a high-stress lifestyle.

Say no to smoking

Smoking is harmful to your lungs, but it is also harmful to your skin. Smoking affects your facial skin, narrowing the blood vessels on the surface. Narrow blood arteries restrict blood flow, depriving the skin of the oxygen and nutrients it requires to keep healthy.

When you stop smoking, your skin will be healthier, and wrinkles will be less likely to appear. Elastin and collagen provide the skin with the flexibility and strength it requires, and smoking reduces the creation of collagen and breaks it down, causing your skin to lose suppleness.

Sleep well

Even if you have a highly hectic schedule, make an effort to get the recommended amount of sleep each night. This will help you in achieving and maintaining a healthy complexion.

According to the Natural Sleep Foundation, adults require 7–9 hours of sleep every day.

Immune deficiency, obesity, cancer and Diabetes are all typical side effects of persistent sleep deprivation. Experts say that getting good sleep will help you age gracefully and improve your skin’s function.

Risk factors of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Excessive sun exposure

Basal Cell Carcinoma is increased by spending a lot of time in the sun — or in business tanning beds. If you reside in a sunny or high-altitude region, both of which expose you to more UV radiation, the risk increases. Sunburns that are too severe might potentially put you at risk.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy used to treat acne or other skin disorders has increased the risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma in prior treatment sites.

Fair skin

People who freckle or burn easily, have ashen skin, red or blond hair, or light-coloured eyes have a higher chance of developing Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Increasing age

The majority of Basal Cell Carcinomas arise in elderly persons due to the long time it takes for them to form. It may, however, afflict younger adults, and it is growing more prevalent among those in their 20s and 30s.

Family history

If you’ve had Basal Cell Carcinoma before, you’re at a higher risk of getting it again. You may have a higher risk of developing Basal Cell Carcinoma if you already have a family history of skin cancer.

Drugs that inhibit the immune system

Taking immune-suppressing medicines, such as anti-rejection drugs following transplant surgery raises your risk of skin cancer.

Arsenic poisoning 

Basal Cell Carcinoma and other malignancies are caused by arsenic, a hazardous chemical abundant in the environment. Because arsenic occurs naturally, everyone is exposed to it.

However, some people may be exposed to more arsenic if they drink polluted well water or work in an environment where arsenic is produced or used.

Skin cancer-causing inherited disorders

Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin-Goltz syndrome) and xeroderma pigmentosum are two uncommon genetic conditions that can increase the risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Conclusion 

If Basal Cell Carcinoma is treated before it spreads, it can be cured. The patients’ chances of making a recovery are highest with early detection and treatment. Basal cell skin cancer is curable in 90% of cases. A variety of natural remedies are recommended. Any treatment to be taken only after a doctor’s consultation.

FAQs

1. What happens if you pick at a Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Small, red lumps that bleed or leak if plucked at are standard visible components of Basal Cell Carcinoma lesions. This might resemble a pimple. However, a skin cancer that has been ‘picked at’ will return to the exact location.

2.   How long can you wait to treat Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Melanoma can jeopardise your life in as little as six weeks since it can grow swiftly and spread to other regions of your body, including your organs. So, it is recommended to get it treated as soon as you identify it.

3.  How deep can Basal Cell Carcinoma go?

Superficial BCC average depths varied from 0.17 mm on the cheek to 0.40 mm on foot. On the thigh, combined superficial and nodular BCC subtype depths varied from 0.63 mm to 1.50 mm, whereas on the lip, they ranged from 0.63 mm to 1.50 mm.

4. How serious is a Basal Cell Carcinoma?

While BCCs seldom spread beyond the original tumour location, they can be unsightly and deadly if left untreated. BCCs left untreated can become locally invasive, spreading broad and deep into the epidermis and destroying skin, tissue and bone.

5.  What is the survival rate for Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Patients with BCC have a good prognosis, with a 100% survival rate for instances that haven’t progressed to other body parts. However, if BCC is allowed to grow, it can cause considerable morbidity and aesthetic deformity.

6.  Do Basal Cell Carcinomas need to be removed?

Yes, they need to be either removed or treated. Surgery to remove the tumour and part of the healthy tissue around it is the most common treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma.

7. How long does Basal Cell Carcinoma take to spread?

The cancer is the culmination of years of sun exposure, and it can take up to 20 years to show. Although it is more frequent in older persons, it may also affect younger people. Monitor your skin and let your doctor know if anything changes.

 


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