How to Recognize Symptoms of Basal Cell Skin Cancer

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Basal cell skin cancer is the most common forms of cancer found in men and women today. While most cases of basal cell skin cancer occur in adults over 40 years of age, cases are being found in younger people due to overexposure to tanning beds and sunbathing. The skin is made up of several layers, and the basal layer is the bottom layer of the epidermis, the surface of the skin. Caused by chronic sun exposure, basal cells are affected by ultraviolet light which causes the cells to become malformed. Then, the malformed cells proliferate and grow. Learning how to recognize symptoms of basal cell skin cancer may help individuals to practive preventive care as well as to seek early treatment of this type of cancer.

Examine your skin on a regular basis. Have a friend or family member look at your back or other areas that you can't see. Individuals should look for any patch of skin that is reddish in color and may or may not have a scab-like appearance.

Pay attention to any small sores that don't heal within a few weeks. These sores may also 'leak' clear fluid or watery blood.

Watch for any new bumps on the skin that look like a pearl. These bumps may be rather small, or may even appear reddish, pink or white. On some individuals, the bump looks like a mole, which may be black, tan or brown in color.

Be alert for any new bumps or growths that have a raised border. These bumps may appear pink in color. The center of these bumps is lower than its edges. The middle of the bump may appear scab-like or crusted over.

Examine your skin regularly for any signs of marks that look like yellowish or white scar tissue that may appear bright or shiny. While this type of basal cell skin cancer is more rare, it is something to be on the lookout for.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid chronic overexposure to the sun. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and perform skin exams at least once a month.
  • This type of cancer typically doesn't spread beyond the skin, but seek treatment immediately if you note signs of moles or bumps that you're not sure about. Caught early, this type of cancer shows remarkable prognosis for treatment.

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