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Telephone: 404-851-1766 Toll Free: 866-851-5030

About Bannar

Patient Education

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer.  It affects two million Americans yearly and it is estimated that about one in three  fair skinned individuals will develop a basal cell carcinoma sometime during their life.  The majority of basal cell carcinomas are found on the head and neck although they may occur anywhere on the body.  Sun exposure and a family history of basal cell carcinoma are major contributing factors in the development of this type of cancer.  Basal cell carcinomas tend to grow slowly and usually only cause local tissue destruction.  This type of cancer only very rarely spreads to other areas of the body (metastasizes).


There are several subtypes of basal cell carcinoma. Nodular basal cell carcinomas are most commonly seen on the face and present as a shiny or pink bump with blood vessels on its surface. There may be a central ulcer with rolled borders. Superficial basal cell carcinomas are more often seen on the trunk and presents as a slowly growing pink to red scaly plaque. It may be mistaken for a patch of eczema. Infiltrative or morpheaform basal cell carcinomas can resemble a scar-like area and are usually seen on the mid-face. These infiltrative lesions tend to have more aggressive behavior and are more likely to recur after treatment.


Basal cell carcinomas can be easily treated when they are in their early stages and small in size.  However, if left to grow, the cancer can cause significant local tissue destruction and disfigurement.  Commonly used treatment options for basal cell carcinoma include standard surgical excision (cutting a margin of skin around the tumor), and electrodessication and curettage (scraping and burning the tumor). Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized surgical technique that may be used in certain situations including treating tumors that are poorly demarcated, recurrent, or in cosmetically important areas such as the eyes, nose, lips, and ears.  This technique usually saves the greatest amount of healthy tissue and has the highest cure rate. Topical 5-fluorouracil or topical imiquimod are other treatment options that can be used on superficial cancers.  Most of these treatments can be done in an outpatient setting. The choice of treatment is based on many factors including the subtype of basal cell carcinoma, size, location, and depth of the tumor. The patient’s age and general health and the cosmetic result are also taken into consideration.


Additional clinical images:

Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma











Infiltrative or Morpheaform Basal Cell Carcinoma








logo-2 Finan Templeton Dermatopathology Associates 1200 Lake Hearn Drive, Suite 300     Atlanta, GA 30319     T: 404-851-1766