The most common skin cancer is known as Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). It accounts for more than 90% of all the skin cancers reported in the USA. It is probably one of the easiest cancers to treat because it does not rapidly spread throughout the body. Even though rarely fatal, it can invade the surrounding local organs and causes severe tissue damage if it is not recognized and treated on time.
Sometimes BCC is also known as the rodent ulcer
BCC is a very slow growing cancer and usually takes years to develop. These cancers are almost always after decades of sun exposure. BCC are most common in the elderly individuals and affect both genders. In the last 2 decades, however, these cancers have been frequently been diagnosed in younger individuals and these numbers appear to be increasing each year.
The major reason for this increase is the fact that younger individuals are being exposed to UVA light without sunscreens.
BCC has a very typical appearance and usually occurs on the face or neck and presents as a pearly or waxy lesion. Sometimes, it may appear like a flat skin lesion which is brown in color.
A common feature of BCC is that the lesion may show signs of healing and then may start to bleed and recur again. It never completely disappears.
No matter what it looks like, the only way to tell if something is a cancer is to perform a biopsy.
Even though the BCC is relatively easily treated, it also has a high tendency to recur. Most individuals who have one BCC can expect to have another BCC or a recurrence within 5 years.
This recurrence rate is even higher if you have been diagnosed with 2 or more BCC.
BCC is exclusively caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight. The cancer is most common on the sun exposed areas of the body.
BCC can occur on the
- upper shoulders
The majority of individuals who are treated for BCC have an excellent prognosis. It is rare for this cancer to spread and if treated promptly, it is curable.
Avoidance of the sun is key to prevention of BCC