What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal Cell Carcinoma is a type of “abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells (skin cells which produce new skin cells), which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). Basal Cell Carcinomas often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars” Although it doesn’t usually spread throughout the body like many other types of cancer “it can be disfiguring if not treated promptly.”
Basal cell carcinoma may also appear as:
- A pearly white or waxy bump, often with visible blood vessels, on your face, ears or neck.
- A flat, scaly, brown or flesh-colored patch on your back or chest.
- More rarely, a white, waxy scar. This type of basal cell carcinoma is easy to overlook, but it may be a sign of a particularly invasive and disfiguring cancer called morpheaform basal cell carcinoma.
Like most cancers, basal cell carcinomas occurs when one of the skin’s basal cells develops a mutation in its DNA. DNA mutations occur when something causes the DNA code to change. The American Academy of Dermatology has determined that exposure to UV light from the sun and from tanning beds change the DNA resulting in a change in the body. These cancer cells begin to divide rapidly, far exceeding the normal rate of cell division. Watch the video below to see how this occurs.
- Chronic sun exposure. A lot of time spent in the sun — or in commercial tanning booths — increases the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
- Fair skin. If you have very light skin or you freckle or sunburn easily, you’re more likely to develop skin cancer than is someone with a darker complexion. This is because you have less natural protection against the harmful rays.
- Your age. Because basal cell carcinomas often take decades to develop, the majority of basal cell carcinomas occur in people age 50 or older.
- A personal or family history of skin cancer. If you’ve had basal cell carcinoma one or more times, you have a good chance of developing it again. If you have a family history of skin cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma is not just a disease. Many young people are suffering from its affects due to being out in the sun too for extended periods of time without sunscreen or through the use of tanning beds. Continue reading for one such case study.
Case Study: Tawny Willoughby
Tawny used tanning beds “an average of 4-5 times a week,” she says and was first diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma at the age of 21. She’s now 27 and has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once. She also has to go to the dermatologist every six to 12 months to make sure things are ok.
Watch the video to see more of her story.
“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like,” – Tawny
People who use tanning beds under the age of 30 increase their risk of melanoma by 75%. They’re also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma (other forms of skin cancer) – The World Health Organization (WHO)
Indoor Tanning Bed Stats obtained from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- On an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons.
- Thirty-five percent of American adults, 59 percent of college students, and 17 percent of teens have reported using a tanning bed in their lifetime.
- Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.
- More than 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.
Risks of indoor tanning:
- The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun, and in some cases might be stronger.
- One indoor tanning session can increase users’ risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.
- Indoor tanning before age 24 increases one’s risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by age 50.
Teaching your students about cancer can be difficult. There are so many factors and new information is continually being rolled out. Save yourself some time and pickup my 2-Day Cancer lesson package.
Everything you need to introduce or review Cancer is right here including the lesson (student and teacher versions) and a student lesson handout. The Power Point is interactive and engaging with YouTube videos hyperlinked directly onto the slides. No more searching for videos, just click on the slide and it will take you directly to them.
Included in the lesson package is:
– The teacher version of the power point
– The student version of the power point
– Student lesson handout
– Hyperlinked videos
In order, the lesson covers:
– Overview of cancer
– Overview Metastasis
– Risk Factors
– Specific types of cancers
– Cancer Prevention
– Diagnostic tests for cancer
– treating cancer