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Basal Cell Carcinoma

Cancer that begins in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It may appear as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and may bleed.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually occurs on areas of the skin that have been in the sun, most often the nose. Often this cancer appears as a raised bump that looks smooth and pearly. Another type looks like a scar and is flat and firm and may be white, yellow, or waxy. Basal cell carcinoma may spread to tissues around the cancer, but it usually does not spread to other parts of the body....Read more about Basal Cell Carcinoma NIH - National Cancer Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Exfoliative cytology as a diagnostic test for basal cell carcinoma: a meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Exfoliative cytology is only occasionally used in clinical practice to diagnose basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

Evidence-based review of the use of cryosurgery in treatment of basal cell carcinoma

This review assessed cryosurgery for basal cell carcinoma (BCC). The authors concluded that cryosurgery is an effective treatment for BCC, but there were insufficient data to compare it with other treatments. The evidence was limited by high drop-out rates in the included studies and unexplained variability in the recurrence rates among studies. Hence, the conclusions may not be reliable.

XRCC3 C18067T polymorphism contributes a decreased risk to both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma: evidence from a meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: The X-ray repair cross-complementing group 3 (XRCC3) in homologous recombination repair (HRR) pathway plays a very important role in DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR). Variations in the XRCC3 gene might lead to altered protein structure or function which may change DSBR efficiency and result in cancer. The XRCC3 C18067T polymorphism has been reported to be associated with skin cancer susceptibility, yet the results of these previous results have been inconsistent or controversial. To derive a more precise estimation of the association, we conducted a meta-analysis.

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Summaries for consumers

Mohs micrographic surgery versus surgical excision for periocular basal cell carcinoma

To compare the effectiveness, cost, complications and acceptability of two different surgical techniques for treating basal cell carcinoma (BCC) around the eyes.

Interventions for basal cell carcinoma of the skin

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common human cancer. It is usually caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. Although not life threatening, basal cell carcinoma can destroy the skin and neighbouring tissues, causing significant cosmetic disfigurement, especially on the face. Treatments include surgical removal, radiotherapy, cryotherapy (freezing), phototherapy (light therapy) and creams. Surgery and radiotherapy appear to be the most effective treatments for basal cell carcinoma and Mohs' micrographic surgery (the removal of the tumour layer by layer until it has gone, as determined histologically) the most effective for high risk facial basal cell carcinoma. Photodynamic therapy appears to be useful in the short‐term, especially for people who wish to avoid scarring. However, long‐term follow‐up is needed. Cryotherapy, while convenient and less expensive, does not have a higher cure rate. Early results for imiquimod cream are promising for superficial basal cell carcinoma, and results from an ongoing study are awaited.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma.

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Terms to know

Basal Cells
A small, round cell found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.
Carcinoma is a cancer found in body tissues that cover or line surfaces of organs, glands, or body structures.
The outer layer of the two main layers of the skin.
A thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body.
Melanoma of the Skin
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in melanocytes (cells that color the skin).
The outer covering of the body that protects it from the environment.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common cancer of the skin. It usually occurs in areas exposed to the sun.

More about Basal Cell Carcinoma

Photo of an adult

Also called: Basal cell epithelioma, Pigmented basal cell carcinoma, Basiloma, Rodent ulcer, BCC

See Also: Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

Other terms to know: See all 7
Basal Cells, Carcinoma, Epidermis

Keep up with systematic reviews on Basal Cell Carcinoma:


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