Top and bottom left from "Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology"; Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond; Copyright 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved. Top right: ©2007 Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved. Bottom left: Copyright © ISM / Phototake -- All rights reserved.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancer in the U.S. These cancers almost never spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. They can, however, cause damage by growing and invading surrounding tissue.
Light-colored skin and sun exposure are both important factors in the development of basal cell carcinomas. About 20 percent of these skin cancers, however, occur in areas that are not sun-exposed, such as the chest, back, arms, legs, and scalp. The face, however, remains the most common location for basal cell lesions. Weakening of the immune system, whether by disease or medication, can also promote the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma. Read more about basal cell carcinoma.