Image Collection: Noncancerous, Precancerous and Cancerous Tumors
Basal Cell Carcinoma
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Top and bottom left from “Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis ofClinical Dermatology”; Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond;Copyright 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rightsreserved. Top right: © 2007 Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved.Bottom left: Copyright © ISM / Phototake -- All rights reserved.
Basal cell carcinomas usually appear as the classic "sore that doesn't heal." A bleeding or scabbing sore that seems to get somewhat better, then recurs and starts to bleed, may be a basal cell carcinoma.
Most basal cell carcinomas are on the face and neck where the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, a fair number show up on parts of the body such as the abdomen, leg, and scalp exposed to little or no sunlight.
Basal cell carcinomas typically are locally invasive. They tend to burrow in locally and not metastasize (spread) to distant locations.
Small basal cell carcinomas can be removed by being scraped and burned (electrodesiccation and curettage). Larger basal cells can be removed by surgery. Basal cell carcinomas on the scalp, ears, and sides of the nose, as well as those which have come back after being treated, are treated best by Mohs surgery.
One basal cell carcinoma means an increased risk of developing another. Prudent sun precautions and annual skin checkups by the doctor are advisable.