Lipoma in Shoulder Has Basal Cell Carcinoma. Any More Insight?

2 years ago my doctor looked at a lump on my shoulder under the skin. He said it was a lipoma and non cancerous and it was ok to leave it alone; I recently had the lump removed. He sent it to the lab and it came back as containing Basel cell carcinoma. My doctor was shocked and is saying that it would be very rare for this to contain basel cells since basel cells are skin cancer and not found in the fatty tissue under the skin were the lump was. Can anyone give me more information about this?

Doctor Answers 2

Lipoma containing Basal Cell Cancer

Wow! That must have been a surprise for you and your surgeon. By definition lipomas are a different type of tissue so you cant have a basal cell develop in this type of subcutaneous fat. Basal cells are cutaneous or skin tumors. I actually had a patient with a similar problem. The only way that I can postulate what happened is you must have had a basal cell over the lipoma that was scraped or treated by another method. It was probably incompletely treated and the skin healed over the remaining tumor cells and the basal cell then was able to grow subcutaneously. The good news is it is fully treatable with surgical excision alone!!

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Lipoma vs basal cell carcinoma

You are correct that basal cell cancers are usually found in the skin and not in the underling fatty tissues, where most lipomas are found.  Ask your doctor for a copy of the pathology report and have him/her review it with you, to determine exactly where the basal cell cancer was seen.  also ask your doctor if they recommend any further treatment or follow up.  Best wishes.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.