You might not have heard of Basal Cell Carcinoma before, but it is actually the most common form of skin cancer in the UK. About 80% of the people who are diagnosed with skin cancer every year have a BCC. If you are diagnosed with one then you will want to know more about this condition and whether it can be cured.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal Cell Carcinoma or BCC is a type of skin cancer that starts in the basal cells that make up the lowest layer of your epidermis. As with other forms of skin cancer, BCCs usually develop as a result of sun damage, so they often appear on areas that have been exposed to the light.
BCCS can look very different, but they are often small bumps, scaly patches or scab-like growths that don’t heal. If you notice any strange lumps or growths on your skin, it’s important to get them checked by a dermatologist, just in case.
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers
Although it can be frightening to be diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s important to be aware that a BCC is very different from malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the type of skin cancer that usually affects moles and it is much more likely to spread to other parts of the body. BCCs are usually very slow growing, so they are unlikely to spread or to cause serious problems.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can ignore a BCC. If you leave it to grow, the BCC can eventually start to spread to other parts of your body. If this happens, the consequences could be very serious. Even before this happens, the growth can become quite large and unsightly, so it’s a good idea to get your BCC removed early.
Can BCC Be Cured?
Basal cell carcinoma can be cured completely by removing the growth. As long as all of the cancer cells are eliminated, there is no risk of the cancer growing back or spreading to other parts of your body. Almost every case of BCC can be completely cured. The only times when a BCC can’t be removed completely is if it is growing in a very delicate areas (such as near your eye) or if it has been left untreated for a very long time. However, even if the BCC has been ignored it is very slow growing and unlikely to spread to the rest of your body or to put your life at risk.
Treatments for BCC
The simplest way to cure a BCC is to remove it. Your dermatologist will usually recommend a minor surgical procedure to remove the BCC. The doctor will check that the entire growth has been removed so that there is no risk of any remaining cells growing back.
Other methods can also be used to remove a BCC or to eliminate the cancer cells. Your doctor might suggest cryotherapy, special creams, photodynamic therapy or other options if they are more suitable for you. All of these treatments can cure BCCs completely.