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Basal cell carcinoma

  • Alternative Names

    Rodent ulcer; Skin cancer - basal cell; Cancer - skin - basal cell


    The best way to prevent skin cancer is to reduce your exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light is most intense at midday, so try to avoid sun exposure during these hours. Protect the skin by wearing hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants.

    Always use sunscreen:

    • Apply high-quality sunscreens with SPF (sun protection factor) ratings of at least 15.
    • Look for sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB light.
    • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply it frequently.
    • Use sunscreen in winter, too.

    Examine the skin regularly for development of suspicious growths or changes in:

    • Color
    • Size
    • Texture
    • Appearance

    Also note if an existing skin sore bleeds, itches, is red and swollen (inflamed), or is painful.


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    Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG. Clinical Oncology. 3rd ed. Orlando, Fl: Churchill Livingstone; 2004:449-452.

    Noble J. Textbook of Primary Care Medicine. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2001:772-773.

    Neville JA, Welch E, Leffell DJ. Management of nonmelanoma skin cancer in 2007. Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2007;4(8):462-469.

    Eigentler TK, Kamin A, Weide BM, et al. A phase III, randomized, open label study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of imiquimod 5% cream applied thrice weekly for 8 and 12 weeks in the treatment of low-risk nodular basal cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;57(4):616-621.