Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma, also known as BCC, is a type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells.


• Oftentimes no symptoms
• Sometimes can be itchy or painful
• Non-healing lesion
• Redness
• Loss of color
• Small bump resembling a cyst or a pimple
• Swollen blood vessels in the skin
• Ulcer
• Pearly growth
• White waxy lump
• Scaly patch
• On sun-exposed areas, such as the face and neck


• Nodular
• In ltrative
• Pigmented
• Ulcerative
• Superficial

Very common

• More than three million US cases per year
• Caused by sun exposure
• Diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist (since BCC sometimes resembles noncancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema)
• In certain cases will need a referral to a surgeon


• Seeing dermatologist for regular skin checks
• Reporting any new mole or growth
• Limiting sun exposure
• Using sun screen


Treatments include prescription creams, radiation or surgery (Mohs surgery, electrosurgery, cryosurgery, wide local excision) to remove the cancer.

-Mohs surgery: Surgical removal of skin cancer, one layer at a time, until only healthy tissue is left.
-Electrosurgery: Using electric current to cut tissue.
-Cryosurgery: Using liquid nitrogen to freeze super cial BCC.
-Wide local excision: Surgical removal of a small area of cancerous or precancerous tissue, along with a margin of normal tissue.

BCCs are easily treated in their early stages. The larger the tumor has grown, however, the more extensive the treatment needed. While BCCs seldom spread to vital organs, they can cause major dis gurement and occasionally result in nerve or muscle injury.

Certain rare, aggressive forms can be lethal if not treated promptly. When small skin cancers are removed, the scars are usually cosmetically acceptable. If the tumors are very large, a skin graft or flap may be used to repair the wound in order to achieve the best cosmetic result and facilitate healing.

Date of Publication:
February 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm