Recognizing the Early Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Nov 14, 2023
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Recognizing the Early Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, affecting millions of Americans each year. It originates in the basal cells, which are responsible for producing new skin cells as old ones die off. Although BCC is often easily treatable, especially when caught early, understanding its symptoms is crucial. Dr. Jean-Denis Boucher at Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic in San Antonio and Live Oak, TX, emphasizes the importance of early detection and awareness. But what exactly should you be on the lookout for?

What are the symptoms of basal cell carcinoma?

Recognizing basal cell carcinoma symptoms can be the difference between a simple treatment and a more complex one. Common indications include:

  • A shiny, translucent, or pearly nodule
  • A sore or patch of skin that can bleed, crust, or fail to heal properly
  • A flat, flesh-colored, or reddish scar-like patch

Dr. Boucher advises patients to monitor their skin for changes, particularly if they're frequently exposed to the sun. Frequent self-examinations and regular check-ups can help catch skin cancer in its earliest stages.

What does basal cell carcinoma look like?

If you're wondering what BCC looks like, it can appear as a change in your skin, such as a growth or a sore that doesn’t heal. While it typically occurs on sun-exposed areas, such as the face and neck, it can be found elsewhere on the body. Dr. Boucher often educates his patients on identifying suspicious growths, which may have the following characteristics:

  • Pearly or waxy appearance
  • Appears as a flat brown or discolored area
  • Has a rolled edge

Spotting these early can lead to a prognosis that's generally very positive with the appropriate treatment.

Where does basal cell carcinoma occur in the body?

Basal cell carcinoma typically occurs in areas of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure. Common sites include:

  • The face
  • Ears
  • Neck
  • Scalp
  • Shoulders

However, Dr. Boucher notes that BCC can develop in less exposed areas, so thorough skin checks are crucial.

How can you stay ahead of basal cell carcinoma?

Prevention and early detection are key. Dr. Boucher recommends the following to his patients:

  • Regular self-examinations of the skin
  • Annual skin checks by a dermatologist
  • Protecting skin from excessive sun exposure with high-SPF sunscreen
  • Wearing protective clothing when outdoors

It's essential to monitor for new growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, or spots. With diligent observation, you can catch basal cell carcinoma in its early stages.

Are you concerned about changes in your skin?

If you're in San Antonio or Live Oak, TX, and have noticed any suspicious skin changes, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Jean-Denis Boucher at Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic. Early detection is your best defense against basal cell carcinoma. By staying vigilant and seeking prompt medical advice, you can ensure the health and longevity of your skin. Reach out today to schedule a consultation and take a proactive step toward your skin health.