Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Everything you need to know.

The incidence of all types of skin cancer has increased dramatically over the last few decades. The Stratum Clinics consultants are experts in diagnosing and treating cancer. Whether it be treated by topical therapy, radiotherapy or plastic surgery, you can rest assured that our consultants will provide you with the best possible care.

Alternative names: BCC, rodent ulcer and non-melanoma skin cancer.

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What causes Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Basal cell carcinoma is the commonest form of skin cancer accounting for around 85% of skin cancer in the UK. It is a slow-growing malignant tumour arising from the epidermis at the skin surface. Fortunately, basal cell carcinoma has a very low rate of growth and is highly unlikely to spread to other areas. The earlier your skin cancer is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is to leave you with scarring.

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basal cell carcinoma

What are the symptoms/types of Basal Cell Carcinoma?

There are several variants of basal cell carcinoma, all of which tend to occur in areas of sun exposure:

  • Superficial basal cell carcinomas appear as a scaly plaque and might resemble psoriasis or eczema.
  • Nodular basal cell carcinomas appear as a slightly shiny or translucent nodule which may ulcerate centrally and have blood vessels visible on their surface.
  • Infiltrative (or morphoeic) basal cell carcinomas are less well-defined plaques and can be difficult to identify.

How can it be prevented?

The earlier your basal cell carcinoma is diagnosed and treated, the less the cosmetic disfigurement and the less chance of recurrence or spread. Checking your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer.

You can lower your chances of basal cell carcinoma by reducing your exposure to UV (ultraviolet) light, including sunlight, sunbeds or sunlamps.

Protection from sunburn, by using a high-factor sun cream or covering up during the hottest part of the day all aid to reduce your chances of basal cell carcinoma.

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basal cell carcinoma in front of ear

What Basal Cell Carcinoma treatments are available?

Superficial basal cell carcinomas can be treated readily with freezing spray, creams or photodynamic therapy. Nodular and infiltrative basal cell carcinomas are treated by either surgical excision or radiotherapy.

Basal Cell Carcinoma treatments we offer include:

  • Freezing spray

  • Topical creams

  • Photodynamic therapy

Frequently asked questions

How might it affect me?

If left, most basal cell carcinomas will continue to grow slowly over time causing cosmetic disfigurement. The infiltrative variants are more likely to involve other tissue and structures, but this tends to occur only if treatment of the BCC is neglected for some time. Spread to lymph nodes and internally is rare.

What complications are there?

If you’ve had a BCC in the past, there’s a chance the condition may return.

The chance of non-melanoma skin cancer returning is increased if your previous cancer was large in size and high grade (severe). It’s also important to be aware that if you’ve had a BCC, your risk of developing another one in the future is increased because these cancers are often multiple.

This means it’s important to regularly examine your skin to check for new tumours.

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