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Basal Cell Carcinoma

Clinical Overview

Basal cell carcinoma is cancer of the basal cells, small cells found in the lower layer of the epidermis. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer, and the incidence is rising. Basal cell tumors may range from a few millimeters to several centimeters in size. While the cancer can invade the dermis and destroy surrounding tissue, it seldom spreads to other parts of the body. Thus, while prompt treatment is necessary to prevent disfigurement, the disease is rarely fatal. Risk factors for developing basal cell carcinoma include family history; fair skin with blue or green eyes and blond or red hair; exposure to coal tar, arsenic, pitch, or creosote; and a history of radiation therapy. Risk of developing basal cell skin cancer increases with age.

Last updated: Aug-02-10

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