Basal Cell Carcinoma - Medical Negligence Lawyers
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Basal Cell Carcinoma - Medical Malpractice
Basal cell carcinomas come from cells in the skin that have begun to grow uncontrollably on the skin. They begin at the deepest layer of the epidermis of the skin. They have several different appearances as will be described later. It is usually caused by an excessive exposure to UV rays, particularly when a person has excessive occupational exposure or heavy intermittent exposure to the sun. Basal cell cancer usually doesn't kill a person but it can be very disfiguring, especially if not treated promptly. Fortunately, it practically never spreads to distant body areas so it is not life threatening. If you have any concerns about your treatment, please use the helpline to speak to a basal cell carcinoma medical negligence lawyer at no cost and with no further obligation.
Basal cell carcinoma is very common, with about 250,000 cases of the disease detected each year in the Canada. It is considered the most common form of cancer among all cancers. About one of three cancers diagnosed will be skin cancer, usually basal cell cancer. It is important to know if you are at risk for the disease.
There are five signs of basal cell carcinoma that you should be aware of. Sometimes the cancer mimics other diseases, such as eczema or psoriasis. Only a well-trained doctor such as a dermatologist can know for sure if the skin disease is cancerous or not. Within the five signs of basal cell cancer, two or more of these signs will show up in the same cancer in most cases.
These are the five signs of basal cell cancer:
- Scarring: The area looks like a scar and is waxy, yellow or white. The borders are usually ill-defined and the skin is shiny. This is a sign that the basal cell carcinoma is bigger than it appears on the surface when you look beneath the surface skin.
- A sore that is open and does not heal. Instead it oozes, bleeds and crusts over for a few weeks. After that, it opens up again and re-bleeds. This is particularly a sign of an early basal cell carcinoma.
- A pink growth: This is a minimally-elevated lesion with a rolled border and a crusty appearing indentation in the middle. The lesion gradually enlarges.
- A reddish patch or irritated area. This often happens on the chest, shoulders, face, arms and legs. The patch is often crusty and might also itch. It can also just be present without any particular symptoms.
- A shiny nodule or bump. This is a common presentation with a pearly appearance. It is often translucent with the colors of red, pink or white.
Even though basal cell carcinomas will not likely be deadly, they shouldn't be ignored either. In their earliest stages, they can easily be treated. If the tumor is getting enlarged, on the other hand, the surgery is more difficult and the end result is more disfigurement. Surrounding tissues can become damaged and can destroy vital organs. Remember, though, that it can't usually metastasize; it can simply be more aggressive.
One of the major complications of basal cell carcinoma treatment is failure to diagnose the disease properly and failure to remove all of the disease by surgery so that the cancer is allowed to grow unchecked, often beneath the surface of the skin.
Basal cell cancers usually have only one cause - exposure to the rays of the sun. This is why it is often seen on easily burned areas of the body, such as the ears, face, scalp, back and shoulders. In rare cases, exposure to arsenic or radiation can lead to basal cell cancer. Even local association with scars, burns, vaccinations, infections or even tattoos can be contributing factors to getting basal cell cancer.
People who are at the greatest risk of getting basal cell carcinoma are those who had a strong history of sun exposure. The majority have blond hair or red hair, fair skin, and eyes that are blue, grey or green. The elderly are most often susceptible to the disease but people as young as 40 years of age can get it. Lately, the report from dermatologists is that people in their twenties or greater are getting the disease.
Men tend to get the disease more than women but increasingly, women are getting the disease. Occupational exposure to the sun increases the risk of getting basal cell carcinoma. Those who have had basal cell cancer in the past are more likely to get the condition in the future. These people need regular screening with a dermatologist to check for early disease.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here