Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer in Canada, as well as the rest of the world. Each year, 50,000 to 60,000 Canadians are diagnosed with BCC.
Basal cell carcinomas have several subtypes, and its characteristics can vary considerably. BCCs often present as elevated skin with a pink or reddish hue. Sometimes it can form a clear nodule or in some subtypes of BCC, it may present similar to eczema. It can form blood vessels inside the lesion, and grow over time to surrounding skin.
The main influencing factor for basal cell carcinoma is sun exposure. For this reason, basal cell carcinoma is most prevalent in sun exposed area of the skin. Basal cell carcinomas are rarely lethal (less than 1%), as they generally do not metastasize (spread to lymph nodes or internal organs). However, early discovery and treatment is still critical as there is always a chance of metastasis and even death, however small, and it is still a malignant growth – meaning that it will continue to invade and damage nearby cells. Early treatment will minimize the damage to nearby cells, and make treatment success and complete removal of the cancer very likely. Overall, treatment success is extremely high at over 97%.