Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC)

What is Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC)?

BCC is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer. Non-Melanoma skin cancers tend to form on the outermost layer of the skin. BCC is the most common form of skin cancer accounting for nearly 80% of all skin cancers. It can appear in the form of a small lump or formation of skin, pink or pearly white in colour with a wax-like appearance. It can also appear as a red, scaly patch. Over time, the lump can become crusty, enlarged and bleed.

You should see your GP if a lump, skin discolouration or any unusual skin abnormality appears especially if it hasn’t healed after four weeks. It does not necessarily mean it is skin cancer but it is always important to get checked out by a doctor.

What type of treatment is there for BCC?

Suitable treatment will be determined by the type, size and where on the body the BCC is located. Treatments can include freezing (cryotherapy), anti-cancer creams, radiotherapy and photodynamic therapy (PDT). Surgery is also an option of treatment where the cancerous tumour is removed and the surrounding skin.

Where most other types of cancers spread across the body, BCC does not tend to do this. Usually, treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is successful.

If you’ve had non-melanoma skin cancer before, there is a likelihood it could return. So it is important to get checked regularly and avoid delaying a visit to your doctor if you suspect or recognise a new skin abnormality.

It is strongly advised that you protect yourself from overexposure to the sun and UV light in order to try and prevent non-melanoma skin cancers. You can do this by avoiding long periods of time under the sun and wearing a high factor sunscreen and sensible clothing when you are out in the sunshine. Simple things like wearing a protective sun hat and keeping under the shade can reduce the amount of exposure your skin gets. Avoid sunbeds and sunlamps also.