Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a cancer of the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis. It is sometimes called a rodent ulcer. It is very common. About 75% (75 in 100) of all skin cancers in the UK are BCCs. Most BCCs are very slow-growing and almost never spread to other parts of the body. Nearly everyone with a BCC who has treatment is completely cured.
Occasionally some BCCs are aggressive, and, if left to grow, may spread into the deeper layers of the skin and sometimes to the bones. This can make treatment difficult.
A small number of BCCs may come back in the same area of skin after treatment. This is known as a local recurrence.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our skin cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Motley et al. British Association of Dermatologists. Management of the patient with primary cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. 2009.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NG12: Suspected cancer: recognition and referral. 2015 (updated 2017).
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NG134: Sunlight Exposure: Benefits and Risks. 2016.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). PH32: Skin Cancer Prevention. 2011 (updated 2016).
Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 140. Management of primary cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. 2014.
Telfar N et al. Guidelines for the management of basal cell carcinoma. British Journal of Haematology. 2008.
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor James Larkin, Consultant Medical Oncologist.
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