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Florida Dermatologist FAQ’s: What is Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer?


Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) refers to nonmelanocytic skin cancer (i.e., an epithelial tumor) that develops from basal cells, which are small, round cells found in the lower layer of the epidermis.

BCC is the most commonly occurring type of skin cancer. It is also the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States. Millions of people learn that they have BCC annually.

This skin cancer typically occurs on sun-exposed skin, such as on the neck, head, or back of the hands. BCC is particularly common on the face, usually developing on the nose. BCC typically develops on the skin that has had the most sun, but it can manifest in any area of the body, including legs, trunks, and arms.

Individuals who use tanning beds also get BCC, and they also tend to develop it earlier in life. This type of skin cancer develops gradually. In rare cases, it can spread to other body areas as well. Treatment is vital as BCC can grow deep and wide, decimating skin, tissue, and bone.

Dermatologists at the PH Dermatology Cancer and Laser Surgery Center receive patients from Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Brandon, Tampa, Spring Hill, Riverview, Florida, and nearby areas for advanced and innovative skin care solutions.

Key Facts

BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. In comparison to darker-skinned people, fair-skinned individuals are more likely to get it. It typically grows on sun-exposed skin.

Doctors typically eliminate this type of skin cancer with surgery. However, at times, they treat it with chemotherapy or radiation. BCC hardly ever spreads to other areas of the body or is fatal, unlike other cancers.

What causes Basal Cell Carcinoma?

The most common cause of BCC is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or from sunbeds. BCC can develop on any area of the body. However, it most commonly occurs on sites that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, head, and ears. A BCC can also develop on a longstanding scar, but they are not infectious.

BCCs usually affects adults who are fair-skinned. However, people with other skin types are also at risk. Individuals with the highest risk of developing BCC are as follows:

  • Pale-skinned people who burn easily and rarely tan (usually with red or light-colored hair, although some may have dark hair but fair skin).
  • Individuals who have had significant exposure to the sun, such as people with outdoor hobbies or outdoor workers as well as people who have lived in sunny regions.
  • People who have routinely sunbathed or have used sunbeds.
  • People who have previously had a BCC.

Are Basal Cell Carcinomas Hereditary?

Besides a rare familial condition known as Gorlin’s syndrome, BCCs are not hereditary. But some of the things that increase the risk of getting BCC (such as fair skin, freckling, and a tendency to burn rather than tan) do run in families.

How will my Basal Cell Carcinoma be Diagnosed?

At times, a doctor can make a diagnosis from the clinical appearance. A skin biopsy can be undertaken under local anesthesia to confirm the diagnosis.

PH Dermatology Cancer & Laser Surgery Center, led by board certified dermatologists, provides advanced dermatology treatments to patients in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, Spring Hill, Florida and surrounding communities. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Palm Harbor Dermatology

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