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Helping Prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma


Basal cell carcinoma, commonly known as basal cell cancer, is the most common type of skin cancer. It grows slowly in the base layer of your skin but spreads easily.

Our Dignity Health cancer care specialists treat each patient with the kindness and respect you deserve. To experience personalized treatment for basal cell carcinoma in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health today.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

Symptoms of basal cell cell carcinoma can develop anywhere on your skin, but most commonly occur in places where you get a lot of sun exposure. Basal cell skin cancer takes years to develop and usually shows signs after age 50 (sometimes sooner if you use a tanning bed).

When symptoms appear, they can include:

  • Dome-shaped skin growth that grows slowly
  • Pale, waxy bump
  • Sore that bleeds and crusts but doesn’t heal
  • Flat, flesh-colored growth that looks like a scar
  • Shiny, scaly patch that’s pink or red

If you have one or more of these symptoms, talk with a Dignity Health doctor for a diagnosis. You can find trusted cancer care at these locations in the Bay Area:

Basal Cell Carcinoma Causes

The main cause of basal cell carcinoma is getting too much ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or a tanning bed. Your risk is higher if you have light-colored skin or hair, freckles, or sunburn easily.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment at Dignity Health

Treatment for basal cell carcinoma depends on the stage of the disease. At Dignity Health, our doctors rely on a range of treatments, including:

  • Cryosurgery to freeze the growth with liquid nitrogen
  • Medicated creams
  • Photodynamic therapy, a combination of chemical treatment and special lights to kill cancer cells
  • Curettage and electrodessication to scrape away growths and destroy remaining cancer cells with an electrical current
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgical removal, including Mohs surgery

The best way to prevent basal cell skin cancer is to:

  • Check your skin regularly to spot changes early, when treatment is most effective.
  • Avoid exposure to UV light (from sun or tanning beds).
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater when you’re in the sun. 

Talk to your Dignity Health doctor about scheduling a screening today.

Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area offer quality care to treat basal cell skin cancer in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.