Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma (B.C.C. or Rodent Ulcer) is the most common form of skin cancer. Over 50,000 new cases of B.C.C.s are reported each year in the U.K. Fortunately it is a very slow-growing form of skin cancer and rarely spreads to other areas or organs in the body. If left untreated, B.C.C.s can disfigure, especially on the face – therefore early recognition and treatment are important.

What are the early Warning Signs?

If you develop a skin lesion or sore that fails to heal within 4 – 6 weeks and has two or more of the following features SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE:

B.C.C.s may appear as an open sore or ulcer.

B.C.C.s can look like a red patch on the skin, which may be itchy, painful or crusty. Sometimes no symptoms are felt, but the lesion does not heal or fade.

A smooth raised growth can appear with an ulcer in the centre. These B.C.C.s can be flesh coloured, pink, red or brown like a mole.

B.C.C.s can also look like a firm nodule in the skin. These, too, can appear flesh coloured, pink, shiny, red or pigmented like a mole.

B.C.C.s can take on the appearance of a flat scarred area in the skin. This area appears pale or white compared to surrounding skin and may have an ulcer or indentation in the centre. This form of B.C.C. can grow more quickly, making the affected skin look taut and shiny.

Remember – Early recognition is important as it may reduce the necessity for more invasive treatment.
Content Last Updated 2012

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