A rodent ulcer is a common form of skin cancer, and is usually called a ‘basal cell carcinoma’, or ‘BCC’ by health professionals.
What does a Rodent Ulcer look like?
Rodent ulcers commonly start as a small red bump on the skin, and can be mistaken as a simple spot or pimple. They grow over time though, and can form a large, dome-shaped growth with small blood vessels visible on their surface. Over time, they can break down and form an ulcer. Some rodent ulcers don’t look like this though, and instead can be just a crusted area that occasionally bleeds (eg when drying yourself with a towel), or even look like an area of scarring on the skin
What causes a Rodent Ulcer?
Rodent ulcers are mainly caused by excess sunlight. If you get a rodent ulcer though, it does not necessarily mean you have had a large amount of sun exposure as some people can form them without having ever spent much time in the sun. There are many other factors linked to rodent ulcers, including genetics, skin type (more common in pale skin) and having had previous rodent ulcers. Some medications, such as immunosuppressive medication, can also increase the risk of forming rodent ulcers
Where do Rodent Ulcers grow?
Rodent ulcers tend to grow on areas that have greater sun exposure, such as the face. Common areas for growth include the nose, ears and eyelids. They can also grow in other areas such as the back, chest and legs
Are Rodent Ulcers harmful?
The risk of a rodent ulcer spreading to other areas such as the lungs, bones or lymph nodes is incredibly small. The rodent ulcers tend to grow slowly, and can take many years to get to just a few centimetres in size. As they grow though, rodent ulcers will destroy the skin around them and their ‘roots’ can get deeper. For this reason, it is always best to get them treated sooner rather than later
Rodent Ulcer treatment
There are a number of treatment options available for rodent ulcers, including surgery, radiotherapy, cryotherapy (freeze spray) or topical treatments (such as creams). The type of treatment needed is usually best weighed up by a specialist in rodent ulcer treatment
Can Rodent Ulcers be cured?
Any treatment for rodent ulcers carries a risk that the ulcer can return, but the cure rates can be very high. When Mohs surgery is used for rodent ulcers, the cure rate can be 99%. Even if the ulcer is cured though, there is a chance of forming new ones in the future, so you need to be aware of any new suspicious growths
This information is for general information only. If you have any concerns about your health or are considering any treatments, you should seek advice from a healthcare specialist