Feel Confident in Your Skin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.