Cancer is a very serious health concern and should be treated with the utmost importance. Skin cancer is no different, and if it is not treated in the early stages, the cure rate decreases as more time passes. Performing flippant searches could invoke fear and cause paranoia. Most of the time, searching for any common symptoms leads to answers indicating that you have cancer right away. Multiple memes circulate about cancer being the immediate diagnosis for any health issue or concern, making light of a very serious situation.
This is why it is important to know the symptoms of Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers, two of the most common skin cancers. It is best to identify them as early as possible. With the information provided below, you will know the symptoms of Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers. The information below will help you understand them better and know how to spot them and when to seek further treatment.
Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
Both Basal and Squamous Cells are found in the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). Squamous Cells are located in the outermost part of the skin. These cells constantly shed and new ones form in their place. Basal Cells are found in the lower part of the epidermis. When the squamous cells shed off, the basal cell layer starts to flatten and replace the squamous cells.
When cells begin to grow uncontrollably, cancer starts to grow and begins to affect other cells. When Squamous Cell Skin Cancer is untreated for an extended period of time, cancer affects deeper layers of the skin, the Basal Cell Layer. When Basal Cell Skin Cancer is left untreated, other layers of the skin become affected. Fortunately, you can get treatment for Basal Cell Skin Cancer, although it can recur in a different part of the skin when not thoroughly removed. That is why it is highly advisable to consult a doctor if symptoms appear in an early stage.
Although many people take necessary precautions when exposed to direct sunlight, it is the most common cause of both Basal and Squamous Skin Cancer. Squamous Skin Cancer commonly appears on sun-exposed parts of the body, such as the ears, face, lips, neck, and back of the hands. Although uncommon, skin cancer also develops in the genital area. Symptoms of Squamous Cell Skin Cancer are below. This list is not comprehensive and if anything on your skin looks suspicious, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Squamous Cell Skin Cancer can appear as:
- Scaly, rough, and red patches with yellow in the middle
- Open sores that will not heal and often look like a crater in the skin and may recur
- Wart-like bumps but are much rounder.
Basal Cell Skin Cancer, on the other hand, often develops on any part of the body, although the condition is more common on the head, scalp, face, and neck. Symptoms of Basal Cell Skin Cancer can be:
- Itchy, raised red patches on the skin
- A firm or flat area appearing either pale or yellow, similar to a scar
- Small bumps with either pink, red, translucent, shiny, or pearly appearance with blue, black, or brown spots/areas
- Abnormal blood vessels in the lower area of pink growths that have raised edges
- Wart-like with a black formation in the center that looks like dried acne or blood
In some cases, Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer are flat and only show slight changes on normal skin. These inconspicuous changes are why many people unknowingly disregard any skin changes instead of scheduling an appointment with a doctor out of precaution. It is crucial to consult a doctor when any abnormality or formation of unusual changes develop on the skin.
Additional Skin Conditions
Aside from the symptoms mentioned above, it is also essential to know other skin conditions that can lead to skin cancer. Frequently, the best cure is prevention, and if you experience any of these conditions, they could be indications or symptoms of precancerous skin conditions.
Actinic Keratosis is often caused by excessive sun exposure. Like basal and squamous cell skin cancer, they appear on parts of the skin that are often exposed to direct sunlight. They can be described as rough, scaly spots that are reddish-pink or flesh in color. This condition is also known as Solar Keratosis. It is seldom that Actinic Keratosis turns into a squamous cell skin cancer. However, you’ll never know if it does if you do not seek medical care. It is essential to get rid of them as soon as possible. It is also advisable to check up with the doctor when changes occur in the affected area.
Bowen disease is the earliest form of Squamous Cell Skin Cancer. They appear as reddish-colored patches that affect larger areas in comparison to Actinic Keratosis. This condition is also known as Squamous cell carcinoma.
Keratoacanthoma appears as a dome-shaped tumor. Just like most skin cancers, it is caused by too much exposure to the sun. The way they look is somewhat similar to squamous cell skin cancer, and they are difficult to tell apart. Keratoacanthoma can also spread to different parts of the skin. Therefore, it is highly advisable to seek the help of a doctor in case there is a Keratoacanthoma development on the skin.
All of these Skin Cancer and Precancerous conditions look somewhat similar. Some of the symptoms could be considered “normal” at a quick glance by an untrained eye. However, it is highly advisable to be vigilant when our skin changes in appearance and wounds are present that do not heal. You should consult a doctor when any new spots appear or change and when your wound does not heal right away, it could be an indication of more serious skin conditions, including squamous cell, basal cell carcinoma, and other precancerous conditions. It is imperative to take good care of your skin and consult a doctor right away when things change.
In addition to seeking medical care when changes arise, taking daily precautions are crucial for prevention. You must apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily as a barrier between your skin and direct sun. When you are in the sun for extended periods of time, use umbrellas, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. If you notice any changes in your skin or have a wound that will not heal, never hesitate to consult a doctor regarding these issues. It is better to take action than symptoms to further develop into more serious issues. In addition, you can consult ENT Allergy and Sinus, and without any hesitation on our end, we will be more than willing to help you with your condition.