Basal Cell Carcinoma

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Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer (70% of all skin cancer) and the most common cancer in humans.

Luckily it is also the gentlest, and in most cases, simple surgical removal with an appropriate margin of normal skin will result in a complete cure. It is extremely rare for BCC to travel to other parts of the body (metastasize).

BCC most commonly affects area of common sun exposure (head, face, neck, shoulders and back). I

Risk factors

  • Red or blonde hair
  • Occasional episodes of bad sunburn as a child/young adult
  • Use of tanning beds
  • Use of certain acne medication
  • Immunosupression
  • Sun exposure

Symptoms of BCC may include:

  • a pearly lump
  • a scaly, dry area that is shiny and pale or bright pink in colour.
  • Itching or bleeding “rash” that doesn’t resolve with treatment


The treatment of a BCC depends on many factors, some of which are complex and best discussed with your skin doctor.

These are based on factors like

  • Greater than or equal to 6 mm in diameter in high-risk areas (eg, central face, nose, lips, eyelids, eyebrows, periorbital skin, chin, mandible, ears, preauricular and postauricular areas, temples, hands, feet)
  • Over 10 mm in diameter in other areas of the head and neck
  • Over 20 mm in diameter in all other areas (excluding hands and feet)
  • Invasion along the nerves

In general most BCCs are treated with surgical removal. Depending on your specific condition other options include creams (imiquimod and efudix), cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen), and electrosurgery but these are not suitable for all types of BCC.

A spot of Basal Cell Carcinoma in skin