Basal Cell Carcinoma

What is basal cell carcinoma?

Basal cell carcinoma forms in the basal cells of the epidermis (top layer of skin). Basal cells are in the lower part of the epidermis, called the basal cell layer. These cells constantly divide to form new cells that replace the squamous cells that wear off the skin’s surface. As basal cells move up in the epidermis, they get flatter, eventually becoming squamous cells.

Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are the most common skin cancers, and actually are more common than any other form of cancer. Because they rarely spread to other parts of the body, basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are usually less concerning. On rare occasions, systemic treatment including targeted therapy might be used.

More information about basal cell carcinoma (National Cancer Institute)