Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a non-melanoma skin cancer. It the most common form of cancer and makes up approximately 80 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers. Risk factors include having grey, green, or blue eyes, freckled or light skin, red or blonde hair, multiple moles, over-exposure to radiation such as x-rays, a family history of BCCs, extended daily sun exposure, and serious sunburns early in life.
Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The skin may appear flat or slightly raised as a skin growth or a bump that may look light pink or white with a waxy or pearly appearance, or as a dark or lighter flesh tone.
Treatments for Basal Cell Carcinoma
Most BCCs are treated with one of the following localized procedures:
- Mohs surgery
- Excisional surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Photodynamic therapy (light)
- Topical therapies
- Cryosurgery (killing cancer cells by freezing them)
- Electrodesiccation (using electricity to scrape cancer cells away)
Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
On rare occasions, BCC might continue to grow despite surgery and radiation therapy. Even rarer, BCCs can metastasize to other parts of the body, such as the lungs. If this occurs, more advanced treatment is required such as medical treatment, vismodegib (Erivedge), which is approved by the FDA. Given the rarity of distantly metastatic or locally advanced BCC, it is important to have this condition managed by an experienced, multidisciplinary team.