Basal Cell Skin Cancer
Basal cell cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Most skin cancers are basal cell cancer.
Other common types of skin cancer are:
• Squamous cell cancer
The top layer of the skin is called the epidermis. The bottom layer of the epidermis is the basal cell layer. With basal cancer, cells in this layer are the ones that become cancerous. Most basal cell cancers occur on skin that is regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation.
This type of skin cancer is most common in people over age 50. But it can also occur in younger people who have had extensive sun exposure.
Basal cell cancer is almost always slow-growing. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
You are more likely to develop basal cell cancer if you have:
• Light-colored or freckled skin
• Blue, green, or grey eyes
• Blond or red hair
• Overexposure to x-rays or other forms of radiation
• Many moles
• Close relatives who have or had skin cancer
• Many severe sunburns early in life
• Long-term daily sun exposure (such as the sun exposure received by people who work outside)
Other risk factors include:
• Weakened immune system, such as being on medicines that suppress the immune system after an organ transplant
• Inherited skin diseases, such as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
• Having had photodynamic therapy