Basal Cell Definition
Basal cell refers to a small, round cell found in the lower part of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in these basal cells. These cells are constantly dividing to form new cells and are located in the basal cell layer of the epidermis. Basal cell cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
What is a Basal Cell?
Basal cells are a type of cell found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. These cells constantly divide to form new cells that replace old ones. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer that begins in these basal cells.
BCC often appears as a slightly transparent bump on the skin, but it can take other forms as well. It usually occurs on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, such as the head and neck.
BCC is caused by DNA damage from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning, which triggers changes in basal cells in the outermost layer of skin (epidermis). A rare inherited condition called basal cell nevus syndrome (Gorlin’s syndrome) can also cause BCC to appear in childhood.
BCC is serious and should be addressed as soon as possible. It looks like a small, sometimes shiny bump or scaly flat patch on your skin that slowly grows over time. If you notice any changes in your skin, such as a growth or sore that won’t heal, you should see a healthcare provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
The basal layer, also known as the stratum basale or stratum germinativum, is the innermost layer of the epidermis. It is separated from the dermis by a basement membrane and contains small round cells called basal cells.
The basal cells continually divide, and new cells constantly push older ones up toward the surface of the skin, where they are eventually shed. Some basal cells can act like stem cells with the ability to differentiate into other types of skin cells.
The basal layer is responsible for replenishing the regular loss of skin cells shed from the surface. Stem cells undergo continuous cell division (mitosis) in this active layer to replace dead or damaged skin cells. Merkel cells, which are tactile cells of neuroectodermal origin, are also located in this layer of the epidermis.
The basal layer is an important part of the skin’s structure and function. It plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin by continuously producing new skin cells to replace old ones that have been shed from the surface.
BBC Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. BCC begins in the basal cells, which are a type of cell within the skin that produces new skin cells as old ones die off.
BCC often appears as a slightly transparent bump on the skin, though it can take other forms. It occurs most often on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, such as your head and neck.
Sun exposure is the main risk factor for developing BCC. In particular, childhood burns and prolonged sun damage predispose to BCC. Genetics also play a role in BCC formation, with fair-skinned patients at much higher risk for developing it.
The treatment for a BCC depends on its type, size and location, patient factors, and the preference or expertise of the doctor. Most BCCs are treated surgically.
Long-term follow-up is recommended to check for new lesions and recurrence; however, this may be unnecessary if all visible tumors have been removed and there is no evidence of spread beyond the original site. It is important to address BCC as soon as possible because it is serious.
Type of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for about 80% of all skin cancers. There are four main clinical variants of BCC: nodular, superficial spreading, sclerosing and pigmented.
Nodular BCC is the most common subtype and typically presents as a round, shiny bump. Superficial BCC appears as a red scaly patch that grows slowly over time.
Sclerosing BCC is an aggressive subtype that can be difficult to treat because it often grows in an infiltrative pattern and has poorly defined borders. Pigmented BCC appears as a brown or black lesion that can be mistaken for melanoma.
A biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis of BCC. The biopsy will also determine which subtype of BCC is present. Treatment options for BCC depend on the size, location, and subtype of the tumor.
Surgery is the most common treatment for BCC and involves removing the tumor along with a margin of healthy tissue around it. Other treatment options include radiation therapy, topical medications, cryotherapy (freezing), and curettage (scraping).
Treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer that is most commonly treated with surgery to remove all of cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.
Surgical excision is often recommended for BCCs that are less likely to recur, such as those found on the chest, back, hands, and feet. Mohs surgery is another option that involves removing the cancer layer by layer and examining each layer under a microscope until no abnormal cells remain.
Other treatments for BCC include radiation therapy, immune response modifiers, photodynamic therapy, topical chemotherapy, cryotherapy, laser surgery, and curettage and electrodesiccation (electrosurgery). The choice of treatment depends on factors such as the size and location of the tumor, as well as its risk of recurrence.
Prognosis of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer that forms in the basal cells of your skin. The prognosis for people diagnosed with BCC is excellent, with a 100% survival rate for cases that have not spread to other sites.
BCC rarely spreads to other parts of the body, and the treatment is almost always successful, especially if it’s caught early.
Although treatment is curative in more than 95% of cases, BCC may recur, especially in the first year, or develop in new sites. Therefore, regular skin screenings are recommended.
The risk of recurrence depends on the histologic subtype and type of treatment; the recurrence rate is less than 1% for primary (previously untreated) BCCs treated with Mohs micrographic surgery. The subtypes of BCC that have a less favorable prognosis include infiltrative, micronodular, and morphea forms.
The subtypes of BCC that have a better prognosis include superficial and nodular. In most cases, surgical excision is curative. However, because recurrences can occur, patients need long-term follow-up.
The function of basal cell
Basal cells are cuboid-shaped germinative cells in the skin that are constantly proliferating and differentiating. They are located in the basal layer or stratum basale of the epidermis, which is the innermost layer of the skin.
Basal cells produce new skin cells through continuous division, giving rise to new skin cells that force older cells toward the uppermost layer of the skin, where they are finally shed. The function of basal cells is two-fold: cell renewal and cell adhesion.
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that arises from basal cells. It appears as a change in the skin, such as a growth or sore that won’t heal.
Basal cells also contain gap junctions for cell communication, desmosomes for cell-to-cell attachment, hemidesmosomes for connecting with the basal membrane, and an extracellular matrix. Epidermal basal cells sustain cutaneous tissue maintenance and drive wound healing.