Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The various types of basal cell carcinoma can take many different forms. Often, it may seem like a small bump that grows very slowly. Other symptoms are a:
- Pink, reddish spot that dips in the center
- Scaly patch, especially near the ears
- Sore that resembles a pimple, but that either doesnt heal or heals but keeps returning
- Round growth that can be pink, red, brown, tan, black, or skin-colored
- Scar-like skin that isnt from an injury
Its important to note that the color and shape of the tumor may not be uniform. The spot may be flat or raised, it can be dipped in the center or not, and it can even appear shiny. Often, BCCs do not cause pain, but the area can be numb, sensitive, or itchy. Its hard to self-diagnose a basal cell carcinoma because they can take so many different shapes. If you have a concerning spot, its best to schedule a dermatological appointment right away.
What Does Bcc Look Like
BCCs can look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, scars or growths with slightly elevated, rolled edges and/or a central indentation. At times, BCCs may ooze, crust, itch or bleed. The lesions commonly arise in sun-exposed areas of the body. In patients with darker skin, about half of BCCs are pigmented .
Its important to note that BCCs can look quite different from one person to another. For more images and information on BCC signs, symptoms and early detection strategies, visit our BCC Warning Signs page.
Please note: Since not all BCCs have the same appearance, these photos serve as a general reference to what they can look like. If you see something new, changing or unusual on your skin, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.
An open sore that does not heal
A shiny bump or nodule
A reddish patch or irritated area
A scar-like area that is flat white, yellow or waxy in color
A small pink growth with a slightly raised, rolled edge and a crusted indentation in the center
What Is Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma Of Skin
- Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is a malignant cancer affecting the skin. It is a slow-growing tumor generally observed in older individuals, in both men and women
- This malignant carcinoma, which may be present as a lesion on the sun-exposed areas of the body, has the potential to metastasize to the lymph nodes
- Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is the most common type of BCC that is present as nodules on the skin, usually in the head and neck area
- Some nodules may grow to large sizes and ulcerate. They can also infiltrate into the adjoining soft tissues and nerves. Larger tumors also have a greater tendency to recur after treatment
- The cause of Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is unknown, but factors such as chronic sun exposure, smoking, and ionizing radiation, etc., are known to contribute towards its development. Also, fair-skinned Caucasians have a greater risk than dark-skinned Africans and Asians
- Any combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and invasive procedures are used to treat Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin. Small-sized tumors and tumors that have not metastasized can be cured through appropriate skin surgery
- The prognosis for metastatic tumors depends upon many factors including the stage of the tumor, health status of the individual, and treatment response. The prognosis may be guarded
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Targeted Therapy Or Immunotherapy For Advanced Basal Cell Cancers
In rare cases where basal cell cancer spreads to other parts of the body or cant be cured with surgery or radiation therapy, a targeted drug such as vismodegib or sonidegib can often shrink or slow its growth.
If these drugs are no longer working , the immunotherapy drug cemiplimab can sometimes be helpful.
Recurrent Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. These cancers develop within the basal cell layer of the skin, in the lowest part of the epidermis.
Patients who have had basal cell carcinoma once have an increased risk of developing a recurrent basal cell cancer. Basal cell cancers may recur in the same location that the original cancer was found or elsewhere in the body. As many as 50 percent of cancer patients are estimated to experience basal cell carcinoma recurrence within five years of the first diagnosis.
Basal cell carcinomas typically grow slowly, and it is rare for them to metastasize or spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. But early detection and treatment are important.
After completing treatment for basal cell carcinoma, it is important to perform regular self-examinations of the skin to look for new symptoms, such as unusual growths or changes in the size, shape or color of an existing spot. Skin cancers typically develop in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, but they may also develop in areas with no sun exposure. Tell your oncologist or dermatologist about any new symptoms or suspicious changes you may have noticed.
- Have a history of eczema or dry skin
- Have been exposed to high doses of UV light
- Had original carcinomas several layers deep in the skin
- Had original carcinomas larger than 2 centimeters
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How Widespread Is Bcc
Basal cell carcinoma is quite common, and the number of reported cases in the U.S. has steadily increased.
- An estimated 3.6 million Americans are diagnosed with BCC each year.
- More than one out of every three new cancers are skin cancers, and the vast majority are BCCs.
- The diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers, including BCC and squamous cell carcinoma , increased up to 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.
Mohs Micrographically Controlled Excision
Mohs micrographically controlled surgery involves examining carefully marked excised tissue under the microscope, layer by layer, to ensure complete excision.
- Very high cure rates achieved by trained Mohs surgeons
- Used in high-risk areas of the face around eyes, lips and nose
- Suitable for ill-defined, morphoeic, infiltrative and recurrent subtypes
- Large defects are repaired by flap or skin graft
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Symptoms And Signs Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The clinical manifestations and biologic behavior of basal cell carcinomas are highly variable. The most common types are
Nodular : These types are small, shiny, firm, almost translucent to pink nodules with telangiectases, usually on the face. Ulceration and crusting are common.
Superficial : These types are red or pink, marginated, thin papules or plaques, commonly on the trunk, that are difficult to differentiate from psoriasis or localized dermatitis.
Morpheaform : These types are flat, scarlike, indurated plaques that can be flesh-colored or light red and have vague borders.
Other: Other types are possible. Nodular and superficial basal cell carcinomas can produce pigment .
This basal cell carcinoma appears as a flat, waxy, poorly demarcated plaque with prominent telangiectasia.
Pigmented basal cell carcinoma is rare. These lesions are sometimes misdiagnosed as pigmented nevi or malignant melanomas.
Most commonly, the carcinoma begins as a shiny papule, enlarges slowly, and, after a few months or years, shows a shiny, pearly border with prominent engorged vessels on the surface and a central dell or ulcer. Recurrent crusting or bleeding is not unusual. Commonly, the carcinomas may alternately crust and heal, which may unjustifiably decrease patients’ and physicians’ concern about the importance of the lesion.
How Do People Find Bcc On Their Skin
Many people find it when they notice a spot, lump, or scaly patch on their skin that is growing or feels different from the rest of their skin. If you notice any spot on your skin that is growing, bleeding, or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist. These doctors have the most training and experience in diagnosing skin cancer.
To find skin cancer early, dermatologists recommend that everyone check their own skin with a skin self-exam. This is especially important for people who have a higher risk of developing BCC. Youll find out what can increase your risk of getting this skin cancer at, Basal cell carcinoma: Who gets and causes.
Images used with permission of:
The American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 80:303-17.
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How Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Treated
BCCs can almost always be successfully treated. Treatment will depend on the type, size and location of the BCC, and on your age and health.
If the BCC was removed during the biopsy, you may not need any further treatment. Surgery is the most common treatment for a BCC. It involves cutting out the skin spot and nearby normal-looking tissue. A pathologist will check the tissue around the skin spot to make sure the cancer has been removed. If cancer cells remain, you may need more surgery.
Other treatment options include:
- freezing the spot with liquid nitrogen to kill the cancer cells
- scraping off the spot, then using low-level electric current to seal the wound and kill cancer cells
- immunotherapy creams, liquids and lotions, to treat superficial BCCs
What Does A Basal Cell Carcinoma Look Like
BCCs can vary greatly in their appearance, but people often first become aware of them as a scab that bleeds and does not heal completely or a new lump on the skin. Some BCCs are superficial and look like a scaly red flat mark on the skin. Others form a lump and have a pearl-like rim surrounding a central crater and there may be small red blood vessels present across the surface. If left untreated, BCCs can eventually cause an ulcer hence the name rodent ulcer. Most BCCs are painless, although sometimes they can be itchy or bleed if caught.
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Squamous Cell Carcinoma Stages
There are certain features that are considered to make the cancer at higher risk for spreading or recurrence, and these may also be used to stage squamous cell carcinomas. These include:
- Greater than 2 mm in thickness
- Invasion into the lower dermis or subcutis layers of the skin
- Invasion into the tiny nerves in the skin
- Location on the ear or on a hair-bearing lip
After the TNM components and risk factors have been established, the cancer is assigned to one of the five squamous cell carcinoma stages, which are labeled 0 to 4. The characteristics and stages of squamous cell cancer are:
Stage 0: Also called carcinoma in situ, cancer discovered in this stage is only present in the epidermis and has not spread deeper to the dermis.
Stage 1 squamous cell carcinoma: The cancer is less than 2 centimeters, about 4/5 of an inch across, has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or organs, and has one or fewer high-risk features.
Stage 2 squamous cell carcinoma: The cancer is larger than 2 centimeters across, and has not spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes, or a tumor of any size with 2 or more high risk features.
Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma: The cancer has spread into facial bones or 1 nearby lymph node, but not to other organs.
Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma: The cancer can be any size and has spread to 1 or more lymph nodes which are larger than 3 cm and may have spread to bones or other organs in the body.
What Are Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancers
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common types of skin cancer. They start in the top layer of skin , and are often related to sun exposure.
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells. To learn more about cancer and how it starts and spreads, see What Is Cancer?
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Additional And Relevant Useful Information For Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma Of Skin:
There are multiple types of Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin:
- Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
- Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
- Infiltrating Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
- Micronodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
- Fibroepithelial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
- Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin with Adnexal Differentiation
- Basosquamous Carcinoma of Skin
- Keratotic Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
What Causes Basal Cell Carcinoma
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning are the major causes of basal cell carcinoma and most skin cancers, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Other risk factors include a history of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, having fair skin, chronic infections, and skin inflammation from burns, scars, and other conditions. BCC is more likely to appear in people over the age of 50 and in men.
Increased risk for basal cell carcinoma includes a history of blistering sunburns in youth and intermittent or chronic exposure to the sun. A contributing factor could be growing up in a tropical place, under an ozone hole, or near the equator, says , an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health and a dermatologic surgeon specializing in Mohs surgery treatment for skin cancer.
People think that as long as they put on sunscreen theyre protected, but if youre still getting burned or tanned your skin hasnt been protected in the way that you think, says Dr. Stevenson. Maybe you have some protection, but youre still doing damage to the DNA, which can also cause photoaging, wrinkles, and sun spots.
Stevenson urges people with fair skin and sensitive skin to be extra vigilant about sun protection.
I often tell patients there are some things that arent fair. Some people can eat whatever they want and stay very trim, and some people can be in the sun and not have as many issues as others, she says.
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Diagnosing Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common way dermatologists diagnose basal cell carcinoma is with a full body skin check.
Stevenson says during the diagnosis process dermatologists are looking for papules with skin cancer characteristics. Sometimes dermatologists will use a tool called a dermatoscope, which uses a polarized light to look for other signs of skin cancer. With their training, dermatologists should be able to tell patients if the lesion is benign or something that should be removed because of a skin cancer concern.
Identifying The Types Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Did you know that skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the US and globally? Of the various kinds of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is the most common, with up to 4.3 million new cases discovered annually in America. The good news? In the early stages, most types of basal cell carcinoma have a high cure rate and cause very little damage.
This month, were exploring the types of basal cell carcinoma, including the causes, symptoms, and prognosis for recovery.
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Deterrence And Patient Education
Prevention is the key to address BCC and other skin cancers. This is especially true for those individuals who have already had skin cancer, even after successful treatment. This includes avoiding direct sunlight , wearing protective clothing to cover exposed skin, and using broad-spectrum sunscreens.
Is It Time For Your Annual Skin Check
One of the best ways to prevent basal cell carcinoma is to take steps to protect your skin from the sun, including daily sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade whenever possible. If you have a high risk of developing skin cancer, then make sure that you dont miss your yearly skin check-up with your dermatologist.
Are you experiencing any symptoms that concern you? Schedule an appointment with the dermatologists at the Center for Surgical Dermatology. Were now accepting patients for telemedical appointments!
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma Of Skin
Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin signs and symptoms may include:
- Nodular BCC of Skin is a slow-growing malignant tumor. The tumor is a typical skin lesion that has a nodular appearance
- The surface of the nodule may be red, if intact. Else, it may appear as an ulcer, if the surface is eroded
- It is typically observed on sun-exposed areas of the body common sites include the head and neck region
- The tumor may be solitary or many in number. In children, if it is associated with basal cell nevus syndrome, then multiple lesions may be observed
- Some Nodular BCC of Skin may have pigmented appearance and may resemble a melanoma
- Most lesions are less than 1-2 cm, but some may grow to larger sizes of even 10 cm
- The nodular lesion may grow and there may be itching sensation, ulceration, and bleeding
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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Face Early Stage Basal Cell Skin Cancer : Rodent Ulcer / But Too Much Fun Without Protecting Your Skin From Harmful Uv Rays From The Sun Can Unfortunately Lead To The Development Of Basal Cell Carcinoma The Most Common But Least Dangerous Of Th
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the united states by a pretty large margin, and it does not discriminate. Being armed with information is vital to begin the fight. There are different staging guidelines for basal and squamous cell cancer and melanoma. The stage of a basal or squamous cell skin cancer is a description of how widespread the cancer is. Some types of skin cancer are more dangerous than others, but if you have a spot.