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Basal Cell Carcinoma Essay

998 words - 4 pages

The skin is the largest organ of the body. The integumentary system is made up of the skin and its appendages (hair, nails and glands). The skin is made up of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer and protects against dangerous environmental influences and fluid loss. This layer is made up of stratified squamous keratinized epithelium. The epidermis can be thick or thin depending on the location. On palms and soles, the epidermis is thick and ranges from 0.8 mm to 1.4 mm in diameter. On the other hand, thin skin covers the rest of the body and can range from 0.07 mm to 0.12 mm in diameter. One of the skin’s functions is to provide protection. The epidermis has four types of main cells and one of these cells, melanocytes produce the pigment melanin which helps protect the skin against ultraviolet rays that can damage the skin cells (Ross & Pawlina, 2010). The dermis of the skin consists of two layers: the papillary dermis and the reticular dermis. There are two types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are included in the non-melanoma cancers. This paper will focus on how the skin is affected with basal cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma also known as (BCC) is the most common type of cancer in Caucasians. It is less common in African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. It has had an increased incidence in the recent decades, with highest rates in Australia (Agnew et al., 2005). BCC is also more common in men than in women. It is a slow growing form of cancer that rarely metastasizes. BCC can occur at any age but it is common in older adults. This cancer is the most common cutaneous malignancy in humans (Habif, 2011). It starts on the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. Most basal cell cancers occur on skin exposed to ultraviolet rays/treated by UV rays, and or other radiation (nih.gov).
According to the NIH, people that are the most affected by this disease usually have light-colored or freckled skin, blue, green, or grey eyes, blond or red hair, many moles, close relatives with the disorder, many sunburns, and long-term daily sun exposure (nih.gov). There are several clinical types of basal cell carcinoma: nodular, pigmented, superficial, micronodular, morpheaform and sclerosing basal cell carcinomas (Habif, 2011). Each type of carcinomas differs in their histology and appearance.
Basal cell carcinomas usually appear as pearly papules, often with prominent, dilated subepidermal blood vessels (telangiectasia) (Aster et al., 2013). Some tumors contain melanin pigment and look similar to melanomas. These tumors seem to be brown, black or blue in color. Under the microscope, the tumor cell may resemble the normal basal cell layer from which they are derived. There are two patterns that can be seen: a multifocal growth or nodular lesions. A multifocal growth pattern originates in the epidermis. A nodular lesion grows downward into the...

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