Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is one of the three main types of skin cancer. Lesions are also known as rodent ulcers and are characterised by slow-growth and local invasion. Metastases are extremely rare. BCC is the most common type of cancer in the Western world.

Clinical features

  • many types of BCC are described. The most common type is nodular BCC, which is described here
  • sun-exposed sites, especially the head and neck account for the majority of lesions
  • initially a pearly, flesh-coloured papule with telangiectasia
  • may later ulcerate leaving a central 'crater'


  • generally, if a BCC is suspected, a routine referral should be made

Management options:
  • surgical removal
  • curettage
  • cryotherapy
  • topical cream: imiquimod, fluorouracil
  • radiotherapy