By Gary M. White, MD

Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma The classic superficial BCC. Flat, ham-red color.

A superficial basal cell carcinoma is a BCC which histologically shows a superficial proliferation of neoplastic basal cells.


The superficial BCC usually appears as a red, scaly area in a sea of brown, photodamaged skin. This is the thinnest of BCCs and thus usually the easiest to treat.


A shave biopsy is needed for diagnosis. Often, a C&D may be done at the same time. See treatment of bcc. A comparison of imiquimod, fluorouricil and PDT found imiquimod treatment superior [. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2011; 25:565–9].

It should be noted that the accuracy of histologically subtype on biopsy is not 100%. Final excision sometimes shows a more aggressive form.

Additional Pictures

A very typical presentation with multiple red lesions scattered on the sun-damaged back.
Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma

Ham-red color on a sea of brown.
Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma

Large, recurrent superficial BCC around a C&D scar.
Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma

Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma


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