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Fewer than 1% of basal cell carcinomas - the most common form of cancer in the United States - spread (metastasize) beyond the primary cancer site. Basal cell carcinoma appears as an abnormal skin growth, bump or sore that is usually slow-growing and successfully treated with surgery. If left untreated, the cancerous lesion may become increasingly noticeable or cause disfigurement, but it rarely impacts other areas of the body. However, when it does spread, metastatic basal cell carcinoma can reach lymph nodes, other areas of the skin or more distant sites like the lungs and bones.

There is still much to learn about metastatic basal cell carcinoma and the factors that cause it to spread. Researchers have noted that this condition: 

  • Most often occurs in middle-aged men—in fact, men are twice as likely to develop metastatic basal cell carcinoma than women.
  • Is most likely to develop from a primary lesion on the head or neck.
  • Is usually associated with large primary lesions, including “giant” basal cell carcinomas with blood vessel involvement.

Moffitt’s approach to metastatic basal cell carcinoma

When it comes to seeking treatment for complex diseases like metastatic basal cell carcinoma, the knowledge and experience of the physician you choose is paramount. That’s why many patients visit Moffitt Cancer Center to receive treatment for uncommon skin cancers. Our Cutaneous Oncology Program is home to a multispecialty team that focuses exclusively on skin malignancies and collaborates to develop individualized treatment plans for each patient. And, as a high volume cancer center, Moffitt’s skin cancer specialists have a unique amount of experience addressing challenging metastatic diseases.

If you would like to consult with a Moffitt oncologist specializing in skin cancer about your metastatic basal cell carcinoma treatment options, complete a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488.