Basal Cell Carcinoma

Did you know, with over 4 million new cases diagnosed each year, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States? And while that may sound scary, if detected in its early stages, most types of basal cell carcinoma have a very high cure rate and can easily be treated. 

 

However, with the number of BCC cases continually on the rise, it’s essential to learn more about this common type of skin cancer, such as what causes it and how to identify its warning signs.

What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?

 

Basal cell carcinoma is a form of non-melanoma skin cancer that develops in the basal cells, which are cells located in the bottom layer of the epidermis (uppermost layer of skin). When basal cells become mutated due to cell DNA damage, they begin to reproduce out of control, which causes cancer.

Basal Cell Carcinoma FAQs

What causes basal cell carcinoma?

Similar to other forms of skin cancer, there’s strong evidence that basal cell carcinoma is most likely caused by unprotected and excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

 

Over time, this UV exposure damages cell DNA and can cause cell mutations. When a mutation occurs in the basal cells, these cells begin to reproduce out of control. This process of rapid cell reproduction is what we call cancer.

Can basal cell carcinoma spread?

Yes, basal cell carcinoma can spread. However, unlike many other types of cancers, basal cell carcinoma is slow-growing and doesn’t spread to other parts of the body easily.

Does basal cell carcinoma itch?

A symptom or warning sign of basal cell carcinoma includes an irritated reddish patch, which may form a crust and begin to itch or hurt. 

 

However, BCC can take several different forms. In many cases, it may seem like a small bump that grows very slowly. Other symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include: 

 

  • A small spot with an indentation in the center
  • Scaly patch, especially near the ears
  • Sore that either doesn’t heal or heals but keeps returning
  • Round growth that can be pink, red, brown, tan, black, or skin-colored
  • Scar-like skin that isn’t from an injury

 

BCCs are typically found on the neck, face, shoulders, back, and ears, but they can occur anywhere on the body. If you’re experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it’s important to visit a board-certified dermatologist for a thorough skin evaluation and professional diagnosis.

Is basal cell carcinoma malignant?

Basal cell carcinoma is certainly malignant, as it grows and invades surrounding tissue. However, it very rarely metastasizes, or spreads to other parts of the body. That said, if left untreated, basal cell carcinoma can grow deep into the bone and nearby tissue. With enough time, BCC tumors can be disfiguring and deadly.

How long can you wait to treat basal cell carcinoma?

If you notice a suspicious spot on your body, it’s important to get it professionally checked by a board-certified dermatologist. After a skin evaluation and biopsy, if the results come back positive for basal cell carcinoma, though this type of skin cancer grows slowly, it’s important to get it treated as quickly as possible.

Photos of Basal Cell Carcinoma

 

To help you better identify basal cell carcinoma, take a look at the photos below of what BCC may look like.

Request an Appointment at Brentwood Dermatology for Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment

 

Interested in knowing more about basal cell carcinoma or need to schedule a thorough skin evaluation? The expert team at Brentwood Dermatology are here to help! Remember, the sooner you identify and diagnose BCC, the better your chances of treating it are. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call today at 615-377-3448.