Another common BCC is superficial BCC. These occur in 30% of the cases and are light red and scaly, resembling eczema. An ulcerating BCC is usually firm, translucent, often with a depressed area or crust, and may bleed. A pigmented BCC may be partially or completely brown or blue and has a firm surface that may be depressed. These types of BCC are easy to mistake as melanoma and are found more commonly in people with darker complexions, who naturally have more melanin (the molecule that gives skin its color) in their skin.
Treatment options for BCC are varied and depend on the type of BCC, its location and the patient’s overall health, but are all typically done on an outpatient basis. Higher risk locations for BCC include the areas around the eyes, mouth, ears, and scalp, where there is a risk of cosmetic and functional impairment, and increased risk of recurrence. Foregoing or delaying treatment usually results in extensive damage to the local surrounding tissues, but in extremely rare instances, cancer can metastasize to other organs and tissues.
Electrodesiccation and curettage (a scraping and cautery procedure done in the office) is an option if the BCC is nodular or superficial, smaller than 1 cm, in a low-risk area (such as the trunk, arms, and legs), and is not an aggressive subtype. The malignant tissue is scraped away and electrically cauterized a total of three times in a single visit. This process damages the malignant tissue, leaving surrounding normal skin intact, with a saucer-shaped wound that can take up to 4-6 weeks to heal.