Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer worldwide. In the vast majority of cases, it is thought to be caused by exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Basal cell carcinoma does not travel in the blood stream to other organs like many cancers. But individuals who have had multiple basal cell cancers or other skin cancers, such as squamous cell, are at an increased risk for melanoma.It is important to have a full body skin examination at least once a year to check for abnormal moles, which could be precursors to melanoma or melanoma itself. It is also important to know that basal cell cancer does not turn into melanoma.
Basal cell cancer most often appears on sun-exposed areas such as the face, scalp, ears, chest, back and legs. The most common appearance of basal cell cancer is that of a small dome-shaped bump that has a pearly white color. Basal cell cancer can also appear as a pimple-like growth that heals, only to come back again and again.
Because basal cell cancer is caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun in the vast majority of cases, proper sun protection may help to prevent the development of further basal cell cancers. Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or greater while outdoors. Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sun protective clothing. Men who are balding should also apply sunscreen to the areas of the head not covered by hair. It is best to avoid the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Your dermatologist can diagnosis basal cell carcinoma and determine the best course of treatment for you.