What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer in the world. It is a type of nonmelanoma skin cancer and is easily detected and highly treatable.
What Causes Basal Cell Carcinoma?
BCC develops from exposure to damaging ultraviolet sunlight and tanning beds. This cancer starts in the basal cell (top) layer of the skin and grows very slowly. It develops mainly on the areas exposed to the sun, such as the:
- Head and face
- Arms and hands
Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include:
- Exposure to UV radiation (sunlight or tanning beds)
- Older age
- Male gender
- Exposure to certain chemicals
- Radiation exposure
- Long-term skin inflammation or injury
- Treatment for psoriasis using psoralens and ultraviolet light treatments
- History of skin cancer
- Basal cell nevus (Gorlin) syndrome, a rare inherited disorder
Signs and Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas may appear to heal on their own but inevitably will recur. Common symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include:
- Round, dome-shaped or flat scaling bumps
- Pink to red, pearly or translucent
- Rolled borders
- Visible superficial blood vessels
- A sore that oozes and bleeds
Treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly and rarely metastasizes. If untreated, however, they may invade local structures such as fat, muscle and bone deep in the skin's surface and cause functional or cosmetic impairment.
The appropriate treatment depends on multiple factors including:
Among the many treatment options we offer at UCLA Dermatology are:
- Topical (skin-based) medications spread on the area
- Removal of tumor cells from healthy skin
- Surgery: excision (cutting the cancer out completely) or Mohs micrographic surgery
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.