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Basal Cell Carcinoma

A basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer. It is the most common type (greater than 80%) of all skin cancer in the UK. Basal cell carcinomas are sometimes referred to as ‘rodent ulcers’.

The most common cause is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or from sunbeds. Basal cell carcinoma can occur anywhere on the body, but we find them most on sun-exposed areas such as your face, head, neck and ears. Risk factors include fair skin, a tendency to burn rather than tan, and previous history.

We can cure basal cell carcinoma in almost every case. Treatment can be more complicated if the basal cell carcinoma has been neglected for a long time, or if it occurs in an awkward place, such as close to the eye or on the nose or ear.

Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to other parts of the body. Although it is a type of skin cancer, it is almost never life-threatening.

Basal Cell Carcinoma self-care

Treatment will be much easier if we detect your basal cell carcinoma early. Basal cell carcinomas can vary in their appearance, but it is advisable to see your doctor if you have any concern. Protection from UV light is crucial.

If you are considering Basal Cell Caracinoma treatment you can see our prices for treatment and consultation.

Read more about Basal cell carcinoma.

Dr Jennifer Crawley

Consultant Dermatologist
Children & Adults

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Dr Angela Tewari

Consultant Dermatologist
Children & Adults

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Frequently Asked Questions.

Basal cell carcinoma or BCC is one of the most common types of cancer. Every one out of two people will have BCC before the age of 65. BCC rarely causes death but it should be taken seriously – if left untreated for too long, BCC can be very disfiguring and especially on the face.

Before the age of 50, low-risk Basal Cell Carcinoma can be treated with ointments applied daily for several weeks or months. Radiation therapy before this age isn’t recommended due to the risk of developing new skin cancer in the same place in 10-15 years.

Basal Cell Carcinoma rarely metastasizes and is quite easily treated if discovered early, the downside is that it can be quite disfiguring due to the depth of the growth so the earlier this is treated, the less disfiguring the surgery will be.

BCC skin cancer may need to be removed with procedures such as curettage, surgical excision, or Mohs surgery, with the possible reconstruction of the skin and surrounding tissue. Basal cell carcinoma is most often treated with surgery to remove all cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.

BCC enlarges slowly, so much so that they can often go completely unnoticed as new growths. The growth rate itself varies from each tumour, some growing as large as a ½ inch (or about 1 centimetre) in one year. BCC’ rarely metastasize to other parts of the body.

UV (ultraviolet) rays from sun exposure or tanning beds the most common cause of BCC. When your skin is exposed to UV rays, the DNA in your skin cells damaged gradually over time with each exposure. DNA contains code for the way your skin cells grow and over time, consistent damage to the DNA can eventually cause cancers to form.

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