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Skin cancer is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans across the country. One of these types, basal cell carcinoma, is unfortunately easy to mistake as contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction on your skin. Telling the difference between the two is crucial for treating either condition.
Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas will create a series of rashes and skin conditions that can be easily noticeable and which may come and go. Basal cell carcinoma rashes are:
The more serious symptoms associated with this type of skin cancer make it easier to spot. However, it will have progressed to a more serious state by then. It is important to catch this condition early, when the rash isn't too severe.
Contact Dermatitis Symptoms
Contact dermatitis is a condition that occurs when you come into physical contact with an item to which you are allergic. It will cause a severe rash which often mimics basal cell carcinoma symptoms. These symptoms include:
These symptoms are most likely to occur when you are in direct contact with an allergen and should last anywhere from a few hours to 10 days after initial contact. It might even come and go over a period of several days, which can mimic the look of an expanding cancer tumor. If your skin has a rash that you think may be contact dermatitis or basal cell carcinoma, go to an allergy treatment center to test it.
Diagnosing the Problem
If your rash is persistent and simply won't go away after allergy treatment, there's a good chance it is basal cell carcinoma. A physical examination of the rash will be necessary, especially if it has changed size and shape since you first noticed it. Various methods of identification will then be performed, including a skin biopsy, a tangential biopsy, and a punch biopsy.
Though it isn't necessary to get every one of these biopsies, it is important to get at least one. This will hurt a little, as it will take away some of your skin, but it's necessary as a way to test your rash for cancer. If it tests positive as basal cell carcinoma, you will need to get it treated by a cancer specialists, including removal of the cancerous cells or chemotherapy. If you have questions, talk to a doctor like Henry E. Wiley, III, M.D.