Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

female doctor examining patient for basal carcinoma

As it develops, basal cell carcinoma can cause several significant symptoms. However, basal cell carcinomas typically don’t hurt, and patients rarely feel anything out of the ordinary. Instead, the warning signs are primarily visual.

When a person develops basal cell carcinoma, he or she may notice a small mole-shaped bump that doesn’t go away. These lesions are typically skin colored and may have a slightly pearly appearance. Blood vessels may be visible in the lesion, which may frequently bleed and scab over.

In some cases, basal cell carcinoma can also present as:

  • A small, hard and waxy skin growth
  • A shiny, flat and scaly patch that’s red or pink in color
  • A lump that looks like a pimple
  • A sore with a sunken area in the center
  • A scar-like sore in an area that has not been injured 
  • A nondescript sore that oozes or crusts over 

Most of the time, these lesions appear on parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the head or neck. However, they sometimes appear in locations not exposed to the sun, such as the abdomen or legs. 

Because basal cell carcinoma has an excellent prognosis when caught early and properly treated, it’s important to discuss any of these symptoms with a dermatologist or skin cancer specialist as soon as they appear. Experienced medical professionals can help determine whether the lesion is basal cell carcinoma or if the symptoms are caused by another skin condition. 

If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms of basal cell carcinoma, no referral is required to meet with one of Moffitt Cancer Center’s skilled oncologists. Our Cutaneous Oncology Program specializes in the treatment of patients with various malignancies, including basal cell carcinoma. To make an appointment with one of our oncologists, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form.


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