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Published on January 24, 2019

basal cell skin cancer

Be Aware of Basal Cell Skin Cancer Signs

There are clear-cut indicators that mean basal-cell carcinoma is affecting you. This common skin cancer shows up in certain ways, and anyone can get it treated in a timely fashion if they know what to look for.

“Basal-cell skin cancers are the most common skin cancer, and while they are rarely fatal, they are often disfiguring,” said Jenny Nelson, MD, Avera Medical Group dermatological surgeon. “When they develop and are not treated, it can lead to removal of a nose, an ear or the development of a large ulcer on the skin.”

Here are the most typical signs of a basal-cell skin cancer lesion:

Lingering Pimples

Skin inflammations, especially those that will not heal for weeks or months, or ones that seem to return again and again, could indicate basal-cell skin cancer. “If you have a tender sore that always bleeds or a bright pink patch of skin, something that almost looks like a rash, you should have it examined,” Nelson said. “They can appear as a shiny spot on your skin, or a color change that never seems to go away.

Sore Spots

Basal-cell skin cancers can appear as a mild injury, such as a small cut or a bug bite that itches. “Like the pimples, these are a problem if they never seem to heal, as they were likely a basal-cell development that was then injured,” she said. “If the injury just won’t heal, that’s telling us it’s something more serious.”

Pearly Bumps

Some of these skin cancers will not bleed, but instead form a crusty surface. In other cases, they will develop into a clear, almost pearl-colored bump that sometimes has red streaks. “Those streaks are blood vessels, and usually are tell-tale signs of a basal-cell condition,” said Nelson. “When caught early, they can be treated. If they are left untreated they can lead to significant damage in the area where they develop – in some cases leading to surgical removal of surrounding skin or tissue. So if you notice any of these signs – visit with your doctor or go to a dermatologist.”

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