As you go through these images, you will see that each image has a thumbnail description. When you click on the image, it will enlarge and show expanded, descriptive text.
Basal cell carcinoma (BAY-zuhl-sel karr-suh-NO-muh) has a variable look, and the subtler forms can be tricky to distinguish from other non-cancerous spots you might see on your skin. BCC commonly presents as:
Below are images that reflect the variation in appearance of BCCs.
SUPERFICIAL BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Below are images of superficial BCCs, which tend to be flat. It might be easy to miss some forms of BCCs, as they tend to be somewhat subtle and nondescript looking.
NODULAR BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Nodular BCCs have dome-like parts. Some of these dome-like segments are large, while others are smaller (micronodular). More than half of BCCs will have a nodular appearance.
ULCERATED OR BLEEDING BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
As we have mentioned, BCCs can be ulcerated (meaning the top of the skin is not intact) or actively bleeding. The following images highlight this characteristic.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA: SPECIAL CASES
Some forms of BCC are less common. Others arise under specific circumstances that are worth noting. Here are a few special cases.
PIGMENTED BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Pigmented BCCs have a darker color than the typical BCC. The coloration can vary. While they can occur in light-skinned individuals, pigmented BCCs are common in people of color.
These images are meant to help you recognize the kind of spots that might be concerning. No image bank is comprehensive, and you may have a spot that is concerning to you that doesn’t look like any of these. If that is the case, you should make an appointment to show your area of concern to a health care provider.
Watermarked images show the source of the image. The sources for specific non-watermarked images are listed below.
These non-watermarked images are from the following sources: The BCC image that resembles a small scratch is reprinted with courtesy of Saturn Stills/Science Photo Library. The morpheaform BCC image has been obtained courtesy of Creative Commons. This image gallery was reviewed by Dr. Silvina Pugliese, MD, Stanford University.
*The remaining images without a watermark are from various professionals who made their images available to the public as a service via Wikimedia Commons.