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  • Writer's pictureThalia Polk

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Welcome to part three of my skin cancer series. Today I am discussing the most common/most frequently occurring type of non-melanoma skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

There are several different types of skin cancer. Each of them fits into one of two categories:

  • Melanoma and non-melanoma.

Non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma, and sebaceous gland carcinoma.

A Few Stats & Facts:

Here are a few facts and statistics that I have gathered from the Skin Cancer Foundation at and the American Academy of Dermatology Association at Please visit their sites for more!

  • BCC grows slowly, making them the most curable of skin cancers.

  • BCC causes minimal damage when caught and treated early.

  • If allowed to grow, BCC can penetrate nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement. However, death from BCC is very rare.

  • BCC arises from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells.

  • BCC is most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body: head, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, legs.

What are basal cells:

  • Basal cells are one of the four types of cells found in the epidermis (the top layer of skin). The epidermis consists of 5 layers.

  • Basal cells are produced in the stratum basale layer (bottom layer) of the epidermis.

  • Basal cells migrate from the basal layer of the epidermis, up to the top layer (stratum spinous). During this migration their shape, nucleus, and chemical composition change.

What causes basal cell carcinoma?

  • Basal cell carcinoma arises from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells.

    • UV exposure from the sun and/or tanning beds is the root cause of uncontrolled basal cell growth.

      • This is because UV exposure causes damage to DNA, which triggers changes in the basal cells, resulting in uncontrolled growth.

What does BCC look like?

  • Open sores

  • Red patches

  • Pink patches

  • Shiny bumps

  • Scars or growths with slightly elevated, rolled edges, and/or a central indentation

  • At times, they may ooze, crust, itch or bleed

*Please note: These photos serve as a general reference for what squamous cell carcinoma may look like. These photos are not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool.

BCC Risk Factors:

BCC Prevention:

  • Wear your sunscreen EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even on cloudy days!

    • When outdoors, make sure you apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours.

  • Seek shade when outside.

  • Wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

  • Take extra caution near sand, snow, and water.

  • Avoid tanning beds and sunbathing.

  • Install a protective window film to windows in your car and home.

    • Don’t forget the front windshield of your car!

  • Eat a healthy diet.

  • Monthly: examine yourself from head to toe once a month.

    • See your doctor if you find anything that does not seem right.

  • Annually: see a dermatologist for a skin exam and/or mole mapping.

Coming Up...

This is part three of a multi-part series. In my next post, I will be discussing Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).

Did you miss my first two articles in this series? Check them out here:


I would love to help you achieve your skin goals!

Visit my website to view my entire menu of services. Then, email me at, or DM me via Instagram or Facebook. I’ll get you set up with a comprehensive consultation and skin analysis, and we'll sail off on your skin transformation journey together!

Do you have questions about anything in this post? Leave a comment right here in this post or email me at I’d love to hear from you!




References, graphics and photos: Skin Cancer Foundation; American Academy of Dermatology Association;

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