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Private Consultant Dermatologist
Harley Street Dermatology

Skin Conditions

 

Are You At Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Basal Cell Carcinoma isn’t as well known to most of us as melanoma, but it is actually the most common form of skin cancer in the UK. Although Basal Cell Carcinomas tend to grow very slowly and are unlikely to spread, it is still important to be aware of the risk of BCC and to seek help if you think you might have one. The sooner the growth is removed, the less scarring there will be and the lower the risk of the cancer spreading and causing more serious problems.
 
Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma
 

Risk Factors for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Like other forms of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinomas are linked with sun damage. Protecting yourself from the sun can reduce your risk of skin cancer. It is particularly important to do this if you are in a higher risk group. You are more likely to develop a BCC if you:
  • Have fair skin, especially if you also have lighter eyes and hair
  • Burn easily
  • Have had sunburn often, especially in childhood
  • Spend a lot of time in the sun or use tanning beds
  • Don’t use sunscreen or other forms of sun protection
  • Have had a BCC or another form of skin cancer before
  • Have close family members who were affected, as there may be a genetic component

Spotting a BCC

You should check your skin regularly for signs of melanoma, BCCs or other types of skin cancer, especially if you are at higher risk. If you notice any changes, it is a good idea to see a dermatologist to find out what’s wrong. The problem could be a BCC if it is:
  • A small raised lump or a flat patch on your skin
  • Pink, red, brown, pearly, waxy or shiny
  • Crusted, bleeding or oozing
  • An open sore that doesn’t heal normally
If the dermatologist confirms that you have a BCC, the lump can usually be removed. In most cases, the entire tumour can be eliminated before the cancer has spread to any other parts of the body. However, it is important to seek help as soon as possible in order to increase the chances of successful removal.

 

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