These are the most common skin cancers in white and fair skinned people. BCC is rare in dark skinned people. Most BCCs develop in people over the age of 60. A BCC typically develops on a sun exposed area of the skin such as the head and neck. However, they can develop on any area of skin. The first sign is often a small red, pink or pearly lump which appears on previously normal skin. The lump is often dome shaped. However, BCCs can vary in shape and colour. They usually grow very slowly and and it can take many months for one to grow to a centimetre or more.
In time the lump on the skin may crust over, ulcerate or bleed from time to time. A skin ulcer caused by a BCC is sometimes called a 'rodent ulcer' which often looks like a small inflamed crater with a raised edge. BCCs rarely spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body. However, untreated they will continue to grow locally and can cause damage to nearby structures. For example, a BCC may erode and damage the nose or an ear.
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