Can you have basal cell carcinoma for years and not know it?

How long does basal cell carcinoma take to develop?

Because basal cell carcinoma often takes decades to develop, the majority of basal cell carcinomas occur in older adults. But it can also affect younger adults and is becoming more common in people in their 20s and 30s.

Can you have BCC for years?

Yes. BCC is a cancer and so treatment is nearly always essential. If not treated, BCCs will continue to grow and damage the skin and possibly nearby structures.

Can skin cancer be dormant for years?

These studies show that in both uveal and cutaneous disseminated melanoma, cells can remain dormant for longer than a decade, and when they emerge from dormancy they almost invariably are resistant to therapy and fatal.

Are basal cell carcinomas slow growing?

The tumors enlarge very slowly, sometimes so slowly that they go unnoticed as new growths. However, the growth rate varies greatly from tumor to tumor, with some growing as much as ½ inch (about 1 centimeter) in a year. Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

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What is the average size of a basal cell carcinoma?

Santiago et al. researched 306 cases of BCC with an average size of 5.7 mm (range: 5-6 mm). Excision of the tumors using 2, 3, and 4 mm margins achieved complete excision of the lesion, including the subclinical extension area, in 73.9%, 94.4%, and 99% of cases, respectively.

Does basal cell carcinoma come and go?

Basal cell carcinoma has a variety of appearances. Some types of basal cell carcinomas may begin as a dome-shaped lump or bump. The bump may be pearly white in color and contain blood vessels. Some basal cell carcinomas look more like a pimple that comes and goes, but never really goes away.

What can be mistaken for a basal cell carcinoma?

Sebaceous glands are small glands that grow near hair follicles, and function as a source of the oily, waxy matter that lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair. When this gland becomes enlarged they can form into a small yellow or flesh coloured papules which can resemble basal cell carcinomas.

Can basal cell carcinoma disappear on its own?

Basal cell carcinomas may appear to heal on their own but inevitably will recur.

What happens if you do nothing about basal cell carcinoma?

Without treatment, a basal cell carcinoma could grow — slowly — to encompass a large area of skin on your body. In addition, basal cell carcinoma has the potential to cause ulcers and permanently damage the skin and surrounding tissues.

How long can you have skin cancer without knowing?

For example, certain types of skin cancer can be diagnosed initially just by visual inspection — though a biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. But other cancers can form and grow undetected for 10 years or more , as one study found, making diagnosis and treatment that much more difficult.

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Can basal cells turn into melanoma?

Basal cell carcinoma does not progress into melanoma. Each is a separate and distinct type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and one of two major nonmelanoma skin cancer types (the other is squamous cell carcinoma).

Does basal cell carcinoma itch?

Yes, skin cancer can be itchy. For example, basal cell skin cancer can appear as a crusty sore that itches. The deadliest form of skin cancer — melanoma — can take the form of itchy moles. See your doctor for any itchy, crusty, scabbed, or bleeding sore that’s not healing.