Search Our Site:  
Share this article:   Bookmark and Share
Custom Search

Signs and Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer.  It is also the least dangerous skin cancer, as it rarely spreads.  Although basal cell carcinomas are rarely fatal, they can cause extensive damage to the surrounding tissue if they are not caught and treated in the early stages.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma are as follows:

  • A pearly white, small shiny, firm nodule, usually on the face and neck
  • A shiny, pearly border around the nodule that develops after several months, with a center ulcer
  • A flat, scaly brown or reddish patch on the back or chest that looks like local dermatitis
  • A white, waxy scar where you have not injured yourself
  • A skin sore that crusts and bleeds
  • Visible blood vessels in and around the sore

Most basal cell carcinomas occur on sun-exposed parts of the skin.  However, some basal cell carcinomas occur in parts of the body that rarely see the light of day, and are not due to sun exposure.

About 3 in 10 people will develop a basal cell carcinoma in their lifetime.  Basal cell carcinomas that are diagnosed and treated early have an excellent prognosis.  Recurrent cancers are much harder to cure, and although they rarely cause death, they can cause disfigurement and destroy nearby muscles, nerves and bone.  Having one basal cell carcinoma increases the risk of having another, so it is a good idea to practice  preventative measures, including avoiding excessive UV light such as sunlight or tanning beds.

Diagnosis of Basal Cell Carcinoma

A diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma is made through a skin biopsy, where a small skin sample is removed for examination under a microscope.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
ICON Health Publications
The Skin Cancer Answer: The Natural Treatment for Basal and Sqamous Cell Carcinomas and Keratoses
I. William Lane

Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer: Basal cell carcinoma
D.V.M.,Ph.D. Anna Rovid Spickler
Understanding Basal Cell Carcinoma: What You Need to Know
Perry Robins; MD

Basal Cell Carcinoma Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Skin Cancer Foundation

The leading skin cancer prevention and information organization. We have physician-approved medical information on symptoms, treatments, as well as photos and prevention tips.

  • About . com

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Find out more about what basal cell carcinoma looks like and who is at risk for getting this skin cancer.

  • E Health Forum

Health information, forum topics, doctor answers, and news about basal cell carcinoma.

  • Better Medicine

Information Including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, causes, videos, forums, and local community support.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment, prevention. Includes picture.

  • Web MD

Learn about basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, and its causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention techniques.

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.