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JAMA Dermatology Patient Page
June 2013

Basal Cell Carcinoma

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(6):766. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.368

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a skin cancer that affects millions of people in the United States each year. While anyone can develop BCC, it usually occurs in light-skinned patients older than 40 years. Patients with history of repeated sun exposure are at risk for getting BCC. Other risk factors for BCC include light eyes and light hair, a history of blistering sunburns (particularly in childhood), or close relatives with skin cancer.

Basal cell carcinomas are considered slow-growing tumors that almost never metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). Untreated BCCs have the potential to continue to grow and destroy surrounding skin and nearby structures leading to physical deformity.

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