Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of cancer in humans. It results from the uncontrolled growth of the cells that line the base of the outer layer of the skin. It is most common on the face, ears, nose, chest and back. It is most common in older people but can occur in young adults. It is most often caused by sun exposure, sun burns and tanning bed use. It may also occur from radiation treatments, a poor immune system and other injuries to the skin. Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to other areas of the body, but it can burrow into muscles, nerves, and bone in the areas near where it develops and can cause significant disfigurement and damage if left untreated. Basal cell tumors indicate an increased risk for other types of skin cancer.

If treated, most basal cell cancers are completely curable. If one is suspected, a dermatologist will do a biopsy by taking a piece of the tumor and examining it under a microscope. Treatments include: simple surgical excision, Mohs surgery, surgical skin scraping, radiation, or the application of prescription medical creams.