The skin’s basal cells are at the base of the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin. When one of these cells develops DNA damage, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) may occur. Basal cells normally produce new skin cells that are pushed to the top of the skin, forcing older cells to be sloughed off or exfoliated. When the DNA is damaged, the old cells do not die and these abnormal cells may accumulate, forming a cancerous tumor.
The most common cause of basal cell carcinoma is sun damage. Ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight and tanning beds and lamps can damage the DNA. However, there may be other causes for areas of the skin that are not exposed to sunlight, such as being exposed to toxic substances or having a condition that weakens the immune system. Some toxic substances that may cause BCC are arsenic and radiation.
Some skin conditions that may cause basal cell carcinoma are complications from burns, tattoos, infections, vaccinations and open sores that do not heal. It is often not possible to determine the cause of basal cell carcinoma on protected areas of the body and on very young children.
Long-term sun damage over many years as well as intense, extended exposure that leads to sunburn may combine to cause basal cell carcinoma. The most common places that BCC occurs are the face, neck, ears, shoulders, back and scalp.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people who have fair skin, red or blonde hair and green, blue or grey eyes are more at risk than others are. If someone in your family has BCC, you may be at higher risk, as the condition is hereditary. Older people are more at risk, and BCC is very rare in children, but more people in their twenties and thirties are developing it. Other people who are at risk are those who have had it once. Even if it was cured, they may develop it again in the future.
During a consultation with Mr. Salerno at Real Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, you can learn about basal cell carcinoma and the treatments. If you have a skin lesion or any unusual area on your skin, it is always better to have it checked by a specialist early. Schedule an appointment at Real Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Moonee Ponds to learn about your treatment options. Our office also serves the Melbourne area. Contact us today to book your consultation.