Skin Cancer Series: Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It’s also the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. This is usually found on the face, neck, scalp and ears but can be found anywhere exposed to the sun. Risk factors for BCC include:

  • People with fair skin, although it can still occur in people with darker skin
  • People who frequent tanning beds have a much higher risk of getting this cancer in addition to getting it earlier in life
  • Develops after years of frequent sun exposure or indoor tanning

This type of skin cancer looks like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or a pinkish patch of skin. It grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Treatment is important because BCC can grow wide and deep, destroying skin tissue and bone.

As 1 in 5 Americans get skin cancer, no one is immune to this deadly disease. The easiest way to treat skin cancer is to prevent it. Take precautions such as:

  • Wear sunscreen
  • Cover up exposed skin 
  • If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade
  • Use extra caution near water, sand or snow as they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn
  • You should be aware of new or changing spots on your skin and be aware of new moles or moles that itch, bleed, or change color. See a dermatologist if you have any of these symptoms. Early detection can save your life

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