Basal and squamous cell carcinoma

Picture of basal and squamous cell carcinoma

These pictures are examples of what skin cancer might look like.

Basal cell carcinoma usually affects the head, neck, back, chest, or shoulders. The nose is the most common site. Signs of basal cell carcinoma can include skin changes such as a:

  • Firm, pearly bump with tiny blood vessels in a spiderlike appearance (telangiectasias).
  • Red, tender, flat spot that bleeds easily.
  • Small, fleshy bump with a smooth, pearly appearance, often with a depressed center.
  • Smooth, shiny bump that may look like a mole or cyst.
  • Scarlike patch of skin, especially on the face, that is firm to the touch.
  • Bump that itches, bleeds, crusts over, and then repeats the cycle and has not healed in 3 weeks.
  • Change in the size, shape, or color of a wart or mole.

Squamous cell carcinoma usually affects the face, head, or neck. Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include any:

  • Persistent, firm, red bump on sun-exposed skin.
  • Patch of skin that feels scaly, bleeds, or develops a crust. The patch may get bigger over a period of months and form a sore.
  • Skin growth that looks like a wart.
  • Sore that does not heal or an area of thickened skin on the lower lip, especially if you smoke or use chewing tobacco or your lips are often exposed to the sun and wind.

Last Updated: October 14, 2008

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

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