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Warning Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Warning Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Of all the types of cancers, skin cancer is the most common in the United States. It’s also one of the most preventable forms. And, if it’s caught early enough, it can be cured.

The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). In fact, every year, doctors diagnose about 3.6 million new cases of BCC in women, men, and children in the United States.

If you stay alert to changes in your skin, BCC can be found in an early enough stage and treated using a specialized type of surgery called Mohs surgery. Mohs cures 99% of newly diagnosed skin-cancer lesions and 94% of recurrent lesions. 

At Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, located in Santa Monica, California, our dermatologist, Paul Yamauchi, MD, PhD, is an expert at performing Mohs surgery for all types of skin cancer, including BCC. He and our team want you to stay skin-cancer-free or, if you do develop skin cancer, get it treated as soon as possible.

Every month, you should examine your skin, including areas that don’t get sun exposure, such as between your toes and behind your ears. The following are some signs you may have BCC and should come to our office for further evaluation and possible treatment.

You have an open sore that doesn’t heal

Sometimes skin cancer manifests as something that simply looks like a sore or cut. It may bleed or ooze pus or other liquid.

Even if it seems to heal, it recurs. If you notice a sore that either doesn’t heal fully or returns, schedule an appointment with us.

You have a persistent red patch

A red patch or rash can be due to many things, including psoriasis or eczema. However, some patchy spots are an early sign of BCC. The patch or rash may:

It may also cause no symptoms at all. But, again, if you notice a skin lesion, rash, or sore that doesn’t heal, schedule an appointment for a medical evaluation.

You have a new mole or bump

Some BCCs appear as shiny bumps or nodules. It may be red, white, or pink on people with light skin. For people with darker skin, the bump could appear to be brown, tan, or black.

Any time you notice a new kind of lesion, pay attention. If it doesn’t resolve or if it looks suspicious or bleeds, please have it evaluated. Also, call our attention to any moles that change shape, size, or color.

You have what looks like a new scar

Some BCC resembles scar tissue. You may notice that the skin is flat and shiny. It may also look stretched or taut. It may be difficult to see its borders because it’s rather shapeless.

The color may be white or yellowish. Please contact us immediately if you notice a scar-like change in your skin. It could indicate an invasive BCC that needs treatment as soon as possible. 

You notice a small pink growth

Another sign of BCC is a small pink growth with a raised and rolled edge. The center of the lesion may be bright pink and slightly crusty.

In short, stay alert to new lesions that:

It’s essential to be alert for BCC if you’ve had it or another form of skin cancer before. Be sure to:

If you have a new or persistent lesion, contact us for an exam and diagnosis today. Phone our friendly staff or send us a message online to schedule a skin-cancer screening or Mohs surgery.

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