basal cell carcinoma cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of all skin cancers. It accounts for about 75 percent of all skin cancers diagnosed in the US. Almost one out of five fair-skinned Americans would have at least one BCC in his or her lifetime.

Though it is generally found in Caucasian people, it has also been diagnosed in people with more pigmentation, including those of Asian or Mediterranean decent.

BCC develops from the basal cell layer of the epidermis. It usually grows very slowly and remains unchanged for years. It is labeled as non-melanoma because it rarely metastasizes or spreads to other parts of the body. However, if left untreated, all BCC can bleed or ulcerate.

They might appear as a small, shiny bump on the skin, in places that are often exposed to the sun, for instance, on the head, neck, arms, hands, and face.

Statistics show that there is a tendency of re-occurrence. 20 percent of people with a single BCC could develop a second one at another site within year, and 50 percent within three years. If there are two BCC at presentation, there is a 40 percent chance of developing a new one within a year.

Given this rate of re-occurrence, patients are advised to see their doctor twice a year for the first three years after treatment of the skin cancer, and then followed by yearly visits.