What is basal cell carcinoma? Basal cell carcinoma is a form of nonmelanoma skin cancer. It is the most common type of skin cancer, responsible for 75% of all skin cancers. It is a very slow-growing tumor that almost never spreads to other parts of the body and is readily curable by surgical removal. While this cancer typically does not spread to other parts of the body, it can penetrate deep into the tissues if not surgically removed (Source: PubMed). Previously, basal cell carcinoma primarily affected people over 40, but it is now being seen in younger people, too. Being fair-skinned, having a family history of skin cancer, and past sunburns or radiation exposure increase your risk for basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinomas occur in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. They occur as painless, slow-growing skin spots in areas of the skin exposed to sunlight or other forms of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Basal cell carcinoma typically remains confined to the area where it first occurs, although it occasionally spreads to surrounding areas and nearby tissues and bones. Basal cell carcinoma can appear as spots that are flat and brown, reddened, or pearly and waxy, usually in areas of the skin where you receive the most sun. These include the neck, the face, back of the ears and neck, and chest. Being aware of these characteristics and performing regular self-checks are helpful. If you see any suspicious growths on your skin, you should contact your health care provider immediately. Any irregular skin lump or growth should be checked out by a physician. Seek prompt medical care if you notice skin irregularities, especially ones that show recent changes.