Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer and the least
dangerous—but it’s far from a trivial matter, reports the May issue of
the Harvard Women’s Health Watch. The good news is that basal
cell carcinoma rarely spreads (metastasizes), and it can easily be
treated and cured when discovered early.
cell skin cancers almost always occur in areas exposed to the sun: 80%
show up on the head and neck. The face is particularly vulnerable. The
most common form—nodular—usually shows up as a shiny bump and may bleed
easily. It often ulcerates and crusts over. Superficial basal cell
carcinoma forms a red, scaly, sometimes itchy spot and may have flecks
of dark pigment. It’s often mistaken for a patch of dermatitis.
Morpheaform, a rarer and more aggressive type, has a waxy white or
yellow scarlike appearance and poorly defined borders.
cell carcinoma grows slowly and occurs mostly in people over age 55.
Sun exposure is the biggest risk factor. Treatment options include
freezing, surgical removal, radiation, and topical creams. Each has a
cure rate of 90% or more for first-time cancers.
article also discusses the trends in tanning, which has not always been
in fashion. Before the 20th century, for example, tan skin suggested
outdoor labor and a lower social status, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
The switch to the tanning as socially desirable and fashionable came in
the 1920s, after French designer Coco Chanel returned from a Riviera
holiday sporting a bronzed look.