Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer.  1 in 7 Canadians will develop a skin cancer in their lifetimes and most of these will be basal cell carcinomas.  They are most common in Caucasians and are rare in individuals with dark skin.  

Basal cell carcinomas are a result of sun exposure and as such occur most commonly on sun-exposed sites.  About 30% of BCCs occur on the nose and 80% occur somewhere on the face.  

Basal cell carcinomas are generally indolent skin cancers that almost never spread internally. They can grow and become locally destructive, however, and they should be removed in order to prevent this.

Treatment options for basal cells include:

  1. Electrodessication and curettage ("scraping" these lesions)
  2. Surgical excision
  3. Mohs surgery
  4. Imiquimod (for superficial lesions)
  5. Radiation 


Cure rates are generally quite high for most treatment modalities.