Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer that typically develops in areas most exposed to the sun, being the most common neoplasm. It starts in the basal cells, responsible for the renewal of skin cells. It usually appears as a bump and occurs most frequently in sun-exposed areas such as the head and neck.

The majority of basal cell carcinomas are due to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. This can cause mutations in the DNA of these cells, turning them into cancerous cells.

Basal cell carcinomas have a significant hereditary component, so individuals with a family history or who have already suffered from this type of cancer are more predisposed to developing it.

Among the non-genetic risk factors that can help its development are:

  • Exposure to UV radiation. Most basal cell carcinomas are caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, tanning lamps, and commercial tanning beds. Severe sunburns also increase their risk.
  • The use of this methodology to treat other conditions can predispose the area to this type of cancer.
  • Fair skin. The risk is higher among people with fair skin, freckles, or who burn easily.
  • Most develop in people over the age of 45 as basal cell carcinoma sometimes takes decades to develop.
  • Immunosuppressive medications.
  • Exposure to arsenic.
  • Hereditary syndromes such as xeroderma pigmentosum or Gorlin-Goltz syndrome.

Symptoms

It generally manifests in the parts of the body most exposed to the sun, especially on the face and neck. It appears as a skin lesion that typically has one of these characteristics:

  • A shiny, skin-colored bump.
  • A brown, black, or bluish lesion.
  • A flat, scaly patch.
  • A whitish lesion, with a waxy appearance and similar to a scar without defined edges.

Prevention

The most important causal factor is UV radiation which is absorbed by skin cells causing mutations in the DNA.

To reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma, the following measures are recommended:

  • Reduce exposure to sunlight, especially at midday. Always use sunscreen, long-sleeved clothing, long pants, and hats. Ultraviolet light is more intense at higher altitudes, so special care should also be taken when practicing winter sports such as skiing.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • High-risk individuals should self-examine once a month. Additionally, it is advisable for them to regularly visit a dermatologist for examinations to detect precancerous lesions early.

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Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

68 loci

Genes analyzed

ADO BACH2 BCAS4 BNC2 CCDC88B CDKN2B CLPTM1L COLEC10 CPVL CTLA4 CTSH CTSS CUX1 CYP1B1 DHX35 EFEMP2 EIF2S2 EXO1 FGF10 FLACC1 FOXP1 GATA3 GPR183 GPX4 HAUS6 HLA-DQA1 IRF4 JDP2 KANK1 KLF14 KRT5 LPP MAL2 MCF2L MYCN N4BP2L1 OCA2 PIK3R1 PPARGC1B PRPF18 RAET1L RBMS1 RCC2 RGS22 RHOU RIPK4 RNASET2 ROCK2 RPP40 RSBN1 SCAF1 SLC45A2 SMC2 SNX13 SOX11 SPATA48 ST3GAL6 STN1 TGM3 THNSL2 TICAM1 TNS3 TRPS1 TSPYL5 TUBB3 TYR ZBTB10 ZBTB7B ZFHX4 ZPBP

Bibliography

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