Basal cell skin cancer

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Basal cell skin cancer (carcinoma) is the most common type of skin cancer. It grows slowly and usually doesn't spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. If not treated, it can damage the skin and deeper tissues where it started growing. When it's found early and treated, most basal cell skin cancer can be cured.

This cancer is usually caused by exposure to UV rays from the sun. Using tanning beds or sunlamps can also cause it. It most often appears on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun, such as the head and trunk. The nose, ears, lips, and scalp are the most common sites.

Basal cell cancer is usually treated with surgery to remove the cancer. If it can't be removed, other treatments may be used, such as radiation therapy or medicines.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.