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Non-melanoma skin cancer

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Basal cell carcinoma

BCC starts in basal cells that are found in the deepest layer of the epidermis. BCC is the most common type of skin cancer, making up about 75% of all non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed. It mostly develops in sun-exposed areas, but it can develop anywhere. It is most often diagnosed in people who are middle-aged or older. It is rare for BCC to spread to another part of the body, but it is possible to have more than one BCC at a time. Having one BCC increases your risk of getting another.

There are different subtypes of BCC:

  • Nodular BCC is the most common subtype. Nodular BCC appears as a raised, flesh-coloured or pink lesion with dilated (large) blood vessels over top. It is most common on sun-exposed areas of the face. If individual tumour nodules are small, they may be called micronodular.
  • Superficial BCC is the second most common subtype. Superficial BCC appears as a reddish, scaly patch. It is most commonly found on the trunk and extremities.
  • Infiltrative BCC often occurs in the deeper layers of the skin and appears as a skin thickening or scar tissue. It occurs most commonly in the head or neck region.
  • Morpheaform (sclerosing) BCC appears as a flat, slightly firm lesion without well-defined edges or borders. It occurs most commonly in the head or neck region..

The micronodular, infiltrative and morpheaform (sclerosing) subtypes of BCC are more aggressive than the nodular or superficial forms.


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