Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with more than 3 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year. This type of carcinoma is caused by cumulative sun exposure, which means you may be at risk if you didn’t wear sunscreen in your younger years. The good news is that basal cell carcinoma is also highly treatable, especially if caught early. Regular skin checks can help you identify the symptoms of this condition so that our dermatologist can take immediate treatment action.
The most obvious symptom of this disease is a lesion on the skin, which can take the form of an open sore, red patch, pink growth, shiny bump or scar. Talk with our experts at Doctor’s Approach immediately if you notice any of the five frequent warning signs of basal cell carcinoma.
The first sign you might notice is an open sore that refuses to heal. The sore will ooze, bleed and remain open for several weeks before healing and then appearing again shortly thereafter.
Secondly, be alert for any unusually red patches of skin. This sign often occurs on the face, chest, shoulders, arms or legs. While these patches may itch or be painful, some people experience no discomfort.
If you have what appears to be a new mole, you should also see our dermatologist. Basal cell carcinoma often causes shiny, raised nodules that can be mistaken for moles. While they can be black or brown, these growths can also appear clear, pink, red or white.
Another common warning sign is a pink growth with a raised border surrounding a crusted over area. As this spot gets bigger, you may notice visible blood vessels near the surface of the skin.
Be especially aware of any scar-like area that appears on your skin, which may be a sign of a basal cell growth that is larger than is visible. This area might look white, yellow or waxy, with a shiny, tight appearance and irregular borders.
By regularly checking your skin at home and having annual exams with our specialists, you can familiarize yourself with the existing appearance of your skin. This will allow you to be aware of any new growths to be concerned about or any moles or freckles that have enlarged or changed color, often a sign of skin cancer.
While you should be most vigilant about checking areas of your body that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, and extremities, basal cell carcinoma can develop in other areas of the skin as well.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for basal cell carcinoma, make an appointment at Doctor’s Approach, with locations in Okemos, Carson City, and St. Johns. We can evaluate your symptoms and come up with an appropriate plan of action for treatment. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.