A carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that starts in the skin cells or the tissue lining of your organs. The abnormal cancer cells can divide and spread throughout the body, but this does not always occur with carcinoma. There are several different types of carcinomas, but the two most common are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. While they are the same form of cancer, they are also very different.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
More people get basal cell carcinoma than any other type of cancer. Basal cell carcinoma forms in the cells that line the deepest layer of the outer skin. Unlike other types of carcinomas, basal cell carcinoma rarely travels to other parts of the body. Since the cancer cells will not travel, basal cell carcinoma is usually very easy to treat.
The most common symptoms of basal cell carcinoma are open sores, red patches, and skin growths. These skin sores will also be very sensitive and bleed easily. Basal cell carcinoma is usually caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet rays can damage your skin cells over time, and these damaged cells can easily turn into cancer cells. If you avoid excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from a tanning bed or the sun, then you should be able to avoid getting basal cell carcinoma.
If basal cell carcinoma is not treated promptly, then you could have permanent scars on the body. There are four common procedures to remove basal cell carcinoma. The cancer cells may be cut out of the body and scraped away using electricity, frozen using cryosurgery or slowly killed with skin creams.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. While it regularly occurs on the skin, squamous cell carcinoma can also appear on the cell lining of your organs, digestive tract or respiratory tract. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma easily spreads throughout the body.
The most common symptom of squamous cell carcinoma is red scaly patches on the skin. These skin patches are usually rough and crusty to the touch. They can also be very painful or itchy. Squamous cell carcinoma more commonly appears on the face, ears, neck and hands. The causes of squamous cell carcinoma are identical to basal cell carcinoma.
Treatment for squamous cell carcinoma can be simple when caught early, but treatment can be difficult if the cancer cells start to spread throughout the body. Minor outpatient surgery can remove most forms of squamous cell carcinoma. Extensive surgery or chemotherapy may be required if the cancer cells start to spread.