Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer worldwide and accounts for almost 80% of skin cancers in the United States: over 4 million cases per year. Most often found on the face and neck, basal cell carcinomas generally occur in areas of significant sun exposure.
There are several types of basal cell carcinoma, and each can look quite different. Superficial BCC’s often look like a pink spot that is getting larger and not going away. Nodular BCC’s can look like a bump, often with a pearly appearance and often with visible vessels if examined with a magnifying glass. Infiltrative and sclerosing BCC’s can appear inflamed or look like a scar. BCC’s sometimes itch or bleed with slight trauma. Fortunately, basal cell carcinomas are almost always successfully treated with current therapies, with less than 1% of cases having damaged underlying structures or spread to other parts of the body before treatment. Basal cells rarely metastasize but can cause severe local damage if not treated early.