Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

BCC is the most common form of cancer in the world.

Who is most at risk?

BCC is most commonly caused by long-term sun exposure. Those that have already had one BCC have a 40% risk of getting a second BCC within 5 years, and are at increased risk of melanoma.

How serious is BCC?

Although BCC does not metastasize or travel in the bloodstream to other organs, it is important to remember that it is a cancer. As such, it will continue to grow locally and will not go away on its own. It is even more serious should it be located near important organs such as eyes and ears.

What does it look like?

After an examination by a dermatologist, it is likely a biopsy will be performed to confirm if you have BCC.

Treatment options

  • Electrodessication and curettage (ED&C) – Here surface of the skin cancer is removed and base gently burned or cauterized with an electric needle.
  • Surgical excision – The skin cancer is cut out and using cosmetic surgical techniques, the skin is sewn back together.
  • Cryosurgery, radiation therapy and laser surgery – May be used in specific circumstances.
  • Mohs – This is a micro graphically controlled surgery, where the skin cancer is removed and microscopic sections are prepared on slides while you wait.
    The technique is favourable in that a minimum amount of tissue is removed and all the edges of the specimen are studied carefully.

Prevention

Sun damage starts in childhood and poor protection puts children at risk for skin cancer later in life. However, you are never to old to practice sun safe behaviour.

– Avoid excessive sunlight exposure, particularly between 10am – 4pm
– Wear sun-protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat
– Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher, apply 30mins before exposure and reapply every 90mins when outdoor (even on cloudy days)