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Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is the most common type of skin cancer and the most commonly diagnosed cancer of any kind in the United States. It’s estimated that there are over five million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed every year, about 80 percent of which are basal cell cancers. The number of BCC diagnoses has been increasing for many years, likely from a combination of better skin cancer detection, people getting more sun exposure, and people living longer.

Death from BCC is uncommon, but thousands of people in the United States die each year from non-melanoma cancer. Most people who die from these cancers are elderly and may not have sought care from a provider until the cancer had grown quite large. People with a suppressed immune system are also more likely to die from BCC.

It’s important to note that these numbers are merely estimates. Exact statistics for non-melanoma cancers are difficult to determine because, unlike most other cancers, BCC and squamous cell cancers are not reported to and tracked by cancer registries.