Can Children Get Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Medically Reviewed on 12/20/2022
Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common form of basal cell carcinoma appears as transparent bumps on the areas commonly exposed to the sun.

Basal cell carcinoma can occur in children, but it is very rare. It occurs in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) as a small, white flesh-colored bump.

Basal cell carcinoma is mainly caused by long-term exposure to direct sunlight.

What is basal cell carcinoma?

Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that occurs in basal cells. Basal cells are the skin cells that help produce new cells as the old cells die.

Basal cell carcinoma can appear in different forms. However, the most common form of basal cell carcinoma is that lesions appear as transparent bumps on the areas commonly exposed to the sun, such as the face and neck.

What are the common causes of basal cell carcinoma in children?

The common causes of basal carcinoma include:

What are the other types of skin cancers?

The other types of skin cancers include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: It is rare in children and appears as small red patches on the skin. It is more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma but can be treated.
  • Melanoma: A type of skin cancer that occurs in a small portion of the skin but can lead to death. Cancers form in the melanocytes, which are pigment-forming cells. Melanoma starts as a small mole and turns into cancer. This cancer can affect all skin types but occurs mostly in light-skinned people. Melanoma spreads very aggressively.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma: A rare type of skin cancer that is aggressive and can be life-threatening. Merkel cells are found on the top layer of the skin and are very close to the nerve endings that receive touch sensations.

What are the symptoms of basal cell carcinoma?

As basal cell carcinoma occurs on the skin's outer surface, the sores are visible to the naked eye.

A sore has the following features:

  • Small, raised, smooth, shiny, and waxy
  • Flat, rough red, or brown and scaly
  • Scaly, bleeding, and crusty
  • Resembles a scar and is firm

What are the risk factors for basal cell carcinoma?

The following are the risk factors for basal cell carcinomas:

  • Long-term exposure to sunlight
  • Light complexion
  • History of actinic keratosis
  • Gorlin syndrome
  • History of radiation therapy
  • Poor immunity


Skin Cancer Symptoms, Types, Images See Slideshow

How to diagnose basal cell carcinoma

The following are the ways to diagnose basal cell carcinoma:

  • Physical examination
  • Examination of general health
  • Skin examination
  • Skin biopsy (a procedure where a sample tissue of the skin is removed and observed under a microscope for any signs of malignancy)

What are the ways to treat basal cell carcinoma?

The common treatments for basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Surgery. It is of two types:
    1. Excision: The tumor and surrounding healthy tissue are removed.
    2. Mohs micrographic surgery: The tumor is surgically removed from the skin in very thin layers. During the surgical removal, the edges of the tumor and every layer of the tumor are observed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. The doctor keeps removing the layers of skin until no cancerous cells are seen. During this procedure, a little healthy tissue is also removed. This is mostly used to treat cancer on the face.
  • Radiation therapy. Uses powerful rays to kill cancer cells. Radiotherapy is administered after the surgery.
  • Chemotherapy. A cancer treatment that uses powerful medications to kill fast-growing cancer cells or stop them from growing. In this treatment, topical creams are used (topical chemotherapy).
Medically Reviewed on 12/20/2022
Image Source: iStock image,may%20have%20small%20blood%20vessels