How are basal cell carcinoma tumors characterized?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021
  • Author: Robert S Bader, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Characteristic features of BCC tumors include the following:

  • Waxy papules with central depression

  • Pearly appearance

  • Erosion or ulceration, often central

  • Bleeding, especially when traumatized

  • Crusting

  • Rolled (raised) border

  • Translucency

  • Telangiectases over the surface

  • Slow growing (0.5 cm in 1-2 y)

Basal cell carcinoma occurs mostly on the face, head (scalp included), neck, and hands. [4] It rarely develops on the palms and soles. BCC usually appears as a flat, firm, pale area that is small, raised, pink or red, translucent, shiny, and waxy, and the area may bleed following minor injury. BCCs may have one or more visible and irregular blood vessels, an ulcerative area in the center that often is pigmented, and black-blue or brown areas. Large BCCs may have oozing or crusted areas. The lesion grows slowly, is not painful, and does not itch.

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