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Top Five Early Warning Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Top Five Early Warning Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can resemble non-cancerous skin irritations such as eczema and psoriasis. There are approximately 2.8 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, and it occurs most often on areas of the body which are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face and arms.

Dollarphotoclub_48541219-copy-300x231Reddish or Irritated Patches

“This is a common manifestation of the disease but it often goes unnoticed at first since these patches can persist without causing any pain or discomfort,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified dermatologist and skin cancer specialist in Austin, Texas. Often though, these areas will itch, burn, and occasionally crust over.

Shiny Bumps on Skin

Some people develop lumps which are either clear or faintly pearly and can be several colors, from pink to dark brown. The bumps often have irregular edges and should not be confused with normal moles.

Pink Growth

Small, pink, slow-developing spots are another sign to watch closely for. These areas can look like acne, or have a raised edge at their outer border and a crusted indentation in the center. Since these growths often begin small, they can be easy to overlook.

Scar-Like Areas

Scars arise after a cut or trauma to the skin,” says Dr. Mamelak. “If a patient develops a spontaneous scar on the skin and there is no good reason for it, it should be investigated.” If an area of the skin appears taut and either waxy or yellowed, it could be a sign that this cancer is present. The lack of clearly defined boarders in the presentation can also be an indication that the space affected by the cancer is much larger than the visible area.

Open Sores

This is possibly the most readily obvious manifestation, and is very common in sufferers. If a sore bleeds, oozes, and crusts over only to open again and repeat the process without ever healing, seek medical attention quickly. While basal cell carcinoma is very treatable, the longer it’s allowed to grow, the more invasive the treatment will have to be making any scars resulting from it that much more obvious.

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Looking after yourself should never be something that you put on the back burner. If you would like more information, or you would like to have your skin checked by our team of highly trained dermatologists, contact us to schedule an appointment.

dr-mamelakDr. Adam Mamelak performs skin cancer screening exams and Mohs micrographic surgery for basal cell carcinoma and other skin cancers at Sanova Dermatology and the Austin Mohs Surgery Center.


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