Basal cell carcinoma (cancerous)
What it is: The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinomas are found in the skin cells responsible for producing new cells. They’re usually found on sun-exposed areas like the face and neck. Basal cell cancers grow so slowly that they rarely cause harm.
What it looks like: According to Dr. Rosen, basal cells most commonly look like “a raised bump on the skin” and sometimes like “a red scaly patch that doesn’t go away.” You may see blood vessels on the surface. It can be difficult to tell a basal cell from actinic keratosis or squamous cell, so a dermatologist will perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
How it’s treated: Some basal cell carcinomas can be treated with a cream that’s applied daily for several weeks, while others are below the surface and need to be surgically removed. “Basal cell carcinoma is really curable,” says Dr. Rosen. “But it can lead you with a scar that can be quite noticeable.” For basal cell carcinomas on the face, the more advanced and precise “Mohs surgery” is often used to reduce the size of a scar.