What is basal cell carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring. If left untreated, the cancer can spread into other areas of the body. Those who are not treated properly can have recurrent basal cell carcinoma in the same area and are more likely to have it in the future.
It is caused by sun damage, which can lead to the body’s basal cells – a type of cell in the lower part of the skin – to mutate in the upper layer of the skin, resulting in uncontrolled growth.
What causes basal cell carcinoma?
Currently, about 8 in 10 diagnosed skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma. Because basal cell cancer grows slowly, most are curable and cause minimal damage when caught and treated early.
Understanding basal cell carcinoma causes, risk factors and warning signs can help you prevent the disease or detect it early, when it is easiest to treat.
Exposure to UV rays from the sun and indoor tanning is the major cause of basal cell carcinoma and most skin cancers. About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers (mainly basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas) are associated with UV radiation.
More on: Causes of basal cell carcinoma
What are the symptoms?
Check for basal cell carcinoma where your skin is most exposed to the sun, especially the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, shoulders and back, but remember that they can occur anywhere on the body.
Frequently, two or more of these warning signs are visible in a tumor.
- An open sore that does not heal, and may bleed, ooze or crust
- A red patch or irritated area, that might be itchy (itchy bcc)
- A shiny bump or nodule that is pearly or clear, pink, tan, red or white, sometimes mistaken for a regular mole
- A pink growth with a raised edge and a lower area in the center that may develop tiny surface blood vessels over time
- A scar-like area that is white, yellow or waxy in color with slightly elevated edge, sometimes a warning sign that may indicate invasive BCC
More on: BCC symptoms
How SkinVision can help with BCC
Taking care of the skin is not just a matter of aesthetics, it is a matter of health. The earlier the skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Learning about the warning signs on your skin gives you the power to detect cancer early when it’s easiest to cure.
SkinVision can be used as an important tool in screening skin cancer or tracking changes in suspicious skin spots.
Always check your whole skin and look for new or changing lesions that increase in size, bleed or do not heal.
More on: What is bcc?
Frequently asked questions about BCC
What does a basal cell carcinoma skin cancer look like?
They can be a pink, skin-colored or light brown nodule that slowly grows on the skin, and that gradually increases in size.
Often a dark crust develops in the middle, which already bleeds with a light touch. The tissue of the lesion can be glassy, shiny and sometimes with blood vessels underneath that are visible.
Wounds that do not heal can also be warning signs for that skin cancer.
Can basal cell carcinoma look like a harmless lesion?
In some people, Basal cell carcinoma can have the same characteristics as
noncancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. It can also resemble a scarlike lesion.
As they are typically painless, they can be mistaken for a benign lesion.
Do all BCC lesions look the same?
Since not all basal cell carcinomas have the same appearance, the images on our website serve as a general reference to what they look like and warning signs to look out for.
How to spot a basal cell carcinoma?
Awareness about the harmful changes in your skin makes it possible to detect suspicious lesions and diagnose skin cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat.
Check for basal cell carcinomas in sun-exposed areas in your body , especially the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, shoulders and back, but remember that they can occur anywhere on the body.
If in doubt, have your skin lesion checked. Follow up on new or changing lesions that grow, bleed or do not heal.
Are there different types of BCC?
There are different types of basal cell skin cancers. These include:
- nodular basal cell skin cancer
- pigmented basal cell skin cancer