What Are Some Facts About Basal Cell Carcinoma?


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Basal cell carcinoma can look like a flesh-colored mole or pimple, have a dome shape with blood vessels in it, or be brown or black, according to WebMD. It may also appear as shiny or scaly pink or red patches, or a hard, waxy skin growth.

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Basal cell carcinomas bleed easily and usually appear on the face, but can also be found on the trunk and extremities, reports WebMD. They are most frequently found on fair-skinned individuals who have been exposed to intense and prolonged amounts of sun or ultraviolet rays from tanning beds. These carcinomas grow slowly, typically not appearing until later in life. Basal cell carcinoma is not likely to spread to other parts of the body, but it can move into tissue or bone in the area. It is the least dangerous form of skin cancer if detected and treated early.

Treatment of a basal cell carcinoma may involve an excision in which the doctor cuts out the tumor and a bit of surrounding skin for a pathology examination, states WebMD. Another method of removal, called a curettage and desiccation, uses an electric needle to kill cancer cells after scraping off the tumor. Liquid nitrogen may be used to freeze the cancer cells in a cryosurgery procedure, or radiation treatments may be performed over the course of several weeks.

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