The most common cancer in humans, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) develops in more than 1 million people every year in the United States alone. About 80% of all skin cancers are BCC, a cancer that develops in the “basal cells,” or skin cells located in the lowest layer of the epidermis.
BCC can take several forms. It can appear as a shiny translucent or pearly nodule; a sore that continuously heals and then re-opens; a pink slightly elevated growth; reddish irritated patches of skin; or a waxy scar. Most BCCs appear on skin that frequently receives exposure to the sun, such as the face, ears, scalp and upper trunk. These tumors tend to grow slowly and can take years to reach ½ inch in size. While these tumors very rarely metastasize (when the cancer spreads to other parts of the body), dermatologists encourage early diagnosis and treatment to prevent extensive damage to surrounding tissue.