Basal Cell Cancer- Signs & Symptoms

Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) almost always develop on the sun exposed parts of the body. The face is the most common followed by the neck and back. Farmers and gardeners can also develop this cancer on their extremities. In the rare case, BCC may also occur on the non sun exposed part of the body.

The typical features of BCC include:- shiny small transparent lesion on the nose or on the forehead

- BCC has a very typical appearance on the nose and is sometimes known as a rodent ulcer. This waxy or pearly lesion is frequently seen on the nose. It has a shiny outside with an ulcer in the middle.

- BCC also has a tendency to bleed and ulcerate and then heal. When this cycle is repeated many times it should lead one to suspect a skin cancer

- In dark skinned individuals the skin lesion may be a flat circular brown or black elevated lesion on the face

- On the back, the lesion is almost always flat and dark in color. The skin lesion is usually quite large.

- Sometimes BCC can present as a pearly white elevated lesion with a deep crater. This type of cancer is usually seen on the face and can invade the local tissues.

In any case. One should seek medical assistance if the skin lesion

- fails to heal after 2-3 weeks

- continues to bleed and crust over

- has visible blood vessels around the sore

- the lesion is growing in size

- the lesion has changes color, shape

- the lesion has occurred in an area of the body where there has been no trauma

The diagnosis of BCC is not complicated. Irrespective of what the lesion looks like, it is imperative that the physician does a skin biopsy. Once the lesion is removed, it can be examined under a microscope. There are numerous methods of obtaining a biopsy and the physician will determine which type of surgical procedure will be adequate for you.

Once BCC is diagnosed, treatment is undertaken. If the diagnosis or treatment is delayed, BCC can be locally invasive. These tumors may not spread to other parts of the body but they can very destructive to the nearby organs and can invade both muscles and bone.

Recurrence is a common feature of BCC even after treatment

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