This is the most common type of skin cancer. It most often appears on skin exposed to the sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands, and arms, but can appear on any part of the body.

BCC may never metastasize, but they can grow deep and wide, affecting surrounding tissue and structures. This is especially concerning on the face where such alteration can affect the eyes and ears, and be cosmetically difficult to handle.

BCC often grows slowly. It may look like a:

  • Reddish patch of dry skin that won’t heal
  • Flesh-colored (or pink, red, or brown) pearl-shaped lump with visible blood vessels
  • Pimple that just won’t clear
  • Sore that bleeds, heals, and then returns
  • Scar that feels waxy — may be skin-colored, white, or yellow
  • Group of slow-growing, shiny pink or red growths that look like sores, often scaly and bleed easily
  • Flat or sunken growth — feels hard, may be white or yellow

Risk Factors

People of all skin colors can get BCC, although it is much more common in light-skinned people. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damage your skin. Your everyday activities expose you to UV rays, such as going outdoors during the day without sun protection or when you drive your car or sit near your office window. Additionally, tanning beds emit dangerous UV rays and their use is associated with developing BCC and other types of skin cancers.

Your risk of developing skin cancer increases as this damage accumulates. There are some people though who have a higher risk of getting BCC. For example, the risk increases with age. The older you are, the longer you have been exposed to the sun’s UV rays. People also may have a higher risk of developing BCC when they have:

  • Pale, light-colored or freckled skin
  • Blonde or red hair
  • Blue, green, or gray eyes
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • A weakened immune system or are taking medicine that suppresses the immune system
  • Used tanning beds or other indoor tanning devices


To diagnose BCC, Dr. Hendricks and his Physician Assistants will perform a skin biopsy. This is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of skin cancer, including BCC. Dr. Hendricks and his Physician Assistants can perform a biopsy using local anesthesia during an office visit.

Dr. Hendricks and his Physician Assistants will biopsy all or a representative sample of the growth depending on its size and location on your body. This tissue will be sent to a pathologist to evaluate under the microscope and determine the diagnosis.

If the diagnosis is BCC, Dr. Hendricks and his Physician Assistants will consider many factors to determine the best treatment for you, including where the BCC appears on your body, the size and features of the BCC, and your overall health.


American Academy of Dermatology