Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. In the U.S. alone, more than 4 million cases are diagnosed each year. BCCs arise from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells.
Because BCCs grow slowly, most are curable and cause minimal damage when caught and treated early. Understanding BCC causes, risk factors and warning signs can help you detect them early, when they are easiest to treat and cure.
What is a basel cell?
One of three main types of cells in the top layer of the skin, basal cells shed as new ones form. BCC most often occurs when DNA damage from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning triggers changes in basal cells in the outermost layer of skin (epidermis), resulting in uncontrolled growth.
What does BCC look like?
BCCs can look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, scars or growths with slightly elevated, rolled edges and/or a central indentation. At times, BCCs may ooze, crust, itch or bleed. The lesions commonly arise in sun-exposed areas of the body. In patients with darker skin, about half of BCCs are pigmented (meaning brown in color).
It’s important to note that BCCs can look quite different from one person to another.