Waiting too long on hold? Text us at 732-574-5264 (immediate assistance between 9 am-5 pm) all others will be replied to next business day.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): What Everyone Should Know About the Most Common Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): What Everyone Should Know About the Most Common Skin Cancer

Over 9,500 people find out they have skin cancer every day in the United States, and more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined.   

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but the good news is that fast-spreading melanomas aren’t the most common type of skin cancer. Fortunately, the most frequent skin cancer diagnosis is basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a highly treatable malignancy with a five-year survival rate of 100% when it’s found early.  

This May, in recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, our skilled team at Dermatology Associates of Central NJ wants to highlight BCC, an “equal opportunity” skin cancer that can affect anyone — and one that’s nearly always curable with early detection and care. 

About basal cell carcinoma

As your largest and most exposed organ, your skin consists of several layers, each of which is in a constant state of renewal and regeneration. Basal skin cells help form the foundation of your outermost skin layer — the epidermis.   

Like all skin cell types, basal cells renew by dividing and copying themselves. When basal cells create new copies, old cells get pushed to the skin surface, where they die and shed away. Sometimes, however, a genetic mutation can make this process go awry. 

What causes BCC?

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) occurs when a genetic mutation interferes with the cellular dividing and copying process, prompting it to go into overdrive and produce too many new basal cells. This can lead to the emergence of an abnormal, uncontrolled growth or lesion called BCC. 

The genetic mutations that trigger BCC formation almost always result from exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from tanning bed use. BCC can develop from cumulative, lifetime exposure to UV light or from instances of brief, intense exposure. 

BCC is very common

More than four million Americans are diagnosed with BCC every year. Not only is it the most common form of skin cancer — it’s the most common type of cancer overall. Anyone can develop BCC, including people with darker skin tones. It’s most prevalent, however, in older adults and people with fair skin and light eyes.   

Where BCC appears

While BCC can develop on any skin area, it typically occurs on areas of skin that are often exposed to the sun, especially the face — it frequently appears on the nose — neck, ears, scalp, backs of the hands, arms, and legs. 

What does a BCC look like?

BCC lesions grow slowly over time and may appear as lumps, bumps, patches, sores, or even indentations on the outer skin. They may also appear as small sores that bleed easily or ooze and crust over. Some BCC spots never seem to heal, while others go away and suddenly reappear. 

Any of the following could be a BCC: 

To the untrained eye, BBC can be tricky to spot: Some of these malignancies resemble warts or pimples, others look like acne scars; some look like minor skin injuries, and others look like mild irritation areas. BBC can sometimes be mistaken for a common mole in people with darker skin.  

BCC prognosis and outlook

Many people find a BCC when they notice a spot, lump, or scaly area that feels different from the rest of their skin. When in doubt, always have a board-certified dermatologist check it out; if caught early, the prognosis for BCC is excellent. 

After conducting a comprehensive skin exam, our team takes a biopsy of any suspicious spots, growths, or lesions. A biopsy is the only way to diagnose any skin cancer, including BCC. 

Because BCC grows slowly and takes a long time to spread beyond skin tissues, treatment usually begins and ends with the simple removal of the cancerous lesion. Based on your overall health, age, and size and location of your BCC, we may recommend:

Given that BCC is so common — and that it’s readily mistaken for various other skin concerns — having annual skin cancer screenings is the best way to catch the problem early when it’s small and readily treatable. Treatment is less likely to be disfiguring. 

Worried about an unusual spot or lump on your skin? Dermatology Associates of Central NJ can help. Give us a call today, or click online to schedule a visit at your nearest office in Old Bridge, Union, Toms River, or Freehold, New Jersey, at your convenience.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Are Chemical Peels right for you?

Are you wondering if Chemical Peels are the best treatment for you? Here at Dermatology Associates, we use VI Peels which are safe for all skin types and tones! VI Peels have several different peels which will target several different concerns.

Reverse Thinning Hair with PRP Therapy

Forget the infomercials, the fads, and the ineffective creams and tonics. You have the power within your own body to reverse thinning hair. Discover the science behind platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy,

Everything You Should Know About Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, which is why it’s smart to know the signs that show on your skin. Learn the signs of melanoma so you can seek early treatment and help prevent this skin cancer from spreading.