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Cancer answers: What is basal cell carcinoma?

Written by Community Health Network on 5/29/2014 7:00:00 AM

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer.

"Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer we diagnose in Indiana,” said Dr. Priya Young, dermatologist. "Nationwide, this cancer accounts for about 80 percent of cases."

It usually forms on skin that has been exposed to the sun for many years. Common places that basal cell develops include the head, neck, back of the hands and face, especially the nose.

It grows slowly over time and seldom spreads, but can destroy tissue and bone around it if not treated. It is the easiest skin cancer to treat and has a high cure rate when found and treated early.

According to, there are five warning signs of basal cell carcinoma tumors to look for: continue reading ...

Tags: basal cell carcinoma | Posted in: Skin Cancer

Don't fry, reapply

Written by Community Health Network on 5/21/2014 10:45:00 AM

Sunny or cloudy, the UV rays can burn. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before being exposed to the sun and reapply every 2 hours for the best protection.

Reapply sunscreen to avoid skin damageDermatologists recommend lotion over sprays because they provide more even coverage. If you are planning to use a spray, rub the lotion in and be persistent about reapplication.

Look for these factors in your sunscreen:

  • SPF 30
  • "Broad-spectrum" to protect from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Water-resistant
Apply to these areas:
  • Legs - Don't forget to get the backs of your legs where it is common to develop skin cancer. 
  • Face - This is the most common place to develop basal cell carcinoma. Apply a moisturizer with SPF and a sunscreen that's lightweight and oil-free.  
  • Back and arms - These are prime spots for melanoma. Have a friend help you apply to get to those hard-to-reach areas.
  • Neck and chest - Tour skin is particularly sensitive here, so apply sunscreen generously. 
  • Ears - The area under your ears is particularly susceptible to aging and cancer because it doesn't have the benefit of the shadow of your chin. 
  • Eyes - If regular sunscreen brings on irritation, try a formula with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Don't forget to put on shades that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Lips - Often forgotten these burn easily. Your ideal shield is SPF 30 lip balm. Avoid glossy lip colors as they intensify the sun damage.  
If you feel yourself beginning to burn, take a quick break under the shade, slop on some more sunscreen and slap on a shirt or hat for extra coverage.

Skin cancer screening
Worried or just curious about a mole or skin spot? Community has experts who can help! Call 800-777-7775 to make an appointment with a Community dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. Skin cancer has a 99% cure rate if detected early - so why wait?

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Appointments available!

To make an appointment with an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician at Community, call 800-777-7775 today!

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