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Basal Cell Epithelioma

What is Basal Cell Epithelioma ?

Basal cell epithelioma is the most common cutaneous malignancy in humans. These tumors typically appear on sun-exposed skin, are slow growing, and rarely metastasize. Neglected tumors can lead to significant local destruction and even disfigurement.

Basal cell epithelioma is most prevalent in fair-skinned men and women, and it's the most common malignant tumor that affects whites. The two major types of basal cell epithelioma are noduloulcerative and superficial.

Causes of Basal Cell Epithelioma

The usual cause of Basal cell epithelioma is chronic sun overexposure and sunburns. The ultraviolet light in sunlight is a form of radiation, and this damages your skin leading to skin cancer. Much of the sun exposure is from ones youth and leads to cancers that result show up years later.

Inspection of the face-particularly the forehead, eyelid margins, and nasolabial folds-may reveal lesions characterized as small, smooth, pinkish, and translucent papules (early-stage noduloulcerative). Telangiecratic vessels cross the surface, and the lesions may be pigmented. As the lesions enlarge, their centers become depressed and their borders become firm and elevated. These ulcerated tumors are called rodent ulcers.

Inspection of the chest and back may disclose multiple oval or irregularly shaped, lightly pigmented plaques. These may have sharply defined, slightly elevated, threadlike borders (superficial basal cell epitheliomas).

Inspection of the head and neck may show waxy, sclerotic, yellow to white plaques without distinct borders. These plaques may resemble small patches of scleroderma and may suggest sclerosing basal cell epitheliomas (morphea-like epitheliomas).

Signs & Symptoms of Basal Cell Epithelioma

  • Brown-gray (may be reddish) nodules on the scalp, face, ear, neck, back, and chest
  • Shiny and waxy looking bump
  • Scar like appearance

Diagnostic Tests

Basal cell epitheliomas are diagnosed by clinical appearance. Incisional or excisional biopsy may be done. And also histologic study may help to determine the tumor type.


Depending on the size, location, and depth of the lesion, treatment may include curettage and electrodesiccation, chemotherapy, surgical excision, irradiation, or chemosurgery.

In nearly in all cases, surgical removal is best for single lesions, regardless of size. Radiation treatment is done only if surgery is too difficult or there are recurrent lesions.

Prevention Tips
  • Use at least an SPF 15 sunscreen before going into sunlight (even in winter) and repeast as necessary. 
  • Avoid excess sun exposure is the best prevention.
  • Long-legged pants, hats, and long-sleeved shirts are protective.

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