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Home :: Skin Cancer, Basal-Cell

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Alternative names :- Rodent ulcer; Skin cancer - basal cell; Cancer - skin - basal cell

Skin cancer affecting the skin's basal layer (the 5th layer). Basal-cell skin cancer invades areas under skin, but it does not spread to distant areas. Skin of the face, ears, backs of hands, shoulders and arms is most frequently affected.


Skin damage from sun that occurs many years prior to the cancer's appearance. Persons most at risk include.

  • Athletes who exercise, train and play outdoors.
  • Persons over age 60.
  • Persons with a fair skin complexion.

Signs and symptoms

A small skin lesion that does not heal in 3 weeks with the following characteristics:

  • The lesion appears flat and "pearly." Its edges are translucent and rounded or rolled. The edge may have small, curvy, new blood vessels. The ulcer in the center is dimpled. Lesion size varies from 4mm to 6mm, but it may grow larger if untreated.
  • The lesion occurs on skin that is exposed to the sun and shows evidence of sun damage.
  • The lesion grows slowly. It does not hurt or itch.


The only way to diagnose basal cell carcinoma is to biopsy suspicious looking lesions. The preferred type of biopsy is called a shave biopsy in which the lesion is shaved off with a flexible razor. Depending on the extent of the skin cancer, another biopsy option is to excise the lesion. Useful information such as whether the complete tumor was removed and tumor depth can only be obtained by biopsy.


Treatment for basal cell carcinoma depends on the stage of the disease (i.e., whether it has spread to surrounding tissue), the size and location of the tumor, and the patient's overall health. Standard treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, more than one treatment is used.

Medication- After surgery:

  • For minor pain, you may use non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.
  • If the scab cracks or oozes, apply a non-prescription antibiotic ointment several times a day.
  • Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to prevent wound infection.

Home Treatment- After surgery:

  • Apply, rubbing alcohol to the scab twice a day.
  • Apply an adhesive bandage to the scab during the day. Leave it uncovered at night.
  • Remove the bandage to wash the wound. Dry gently and completely after bathing and swimming. Reapply the bandage until healed.

Limit exposure to sun. Protect skin from sun exposure with a head covering, clothing or sunscreen.

Use high-quality sunscreens, preferably with SPF (sun protection factor) ratings of at least 15.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.