BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Do you have a non healing scab or small red lump that can bleed? You should probably get it checked by a dermatologist.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the UK’s most common form of cancer. There are a number of curative treatment options, depending on the type and location of the BCC. Seeking treatment early is important.
Basal cell carcinoma can potentially occur anywhere on the skin, but is most often found on the face, neck or torso. While not generally a life-threatening cancer, treating basal cell carcinoma early can help avoid complications and minimise scarring, as well as putting your mind at ease. Find more information below on the condition and its causes, and treatments available at The Dermatology Clinic London.
Basal cell carcinoma sub-types
There are three main variants of BCC, but all of them usually occur in areas commonly exposed to the sun.
These often resemble eczema or psoriasis and look like a red scaly patch of skin.
This type of BCC takes the form of a slightly shiny nodule and can ulcerate in the centre. They often have very small visible blood vessels on their surface.
These can be difficult to identify as they are less defined than the other variants.
“ Skin cancer rates have been steadily on the rise over the past 30 years, it’s essential for people to check their skin regularly, making it a part of their routine. Early detection saves lives. ”
Basal cell carcinoma treatment
At The Dermatology Clinic, we can begin helping you plan your treatment as soon as a diagnosis is confirmed. We use a number of methods to destroy the cancer cells and the best option for you will depend on the size, location and sub-type of the BCC. Our team will also take into consideration your age, medical history and health status before recommending the best course of action.
Procedures for treating BCCs are usually minor and you shouldn’t feel a lot of discomfort during your treatment.
This procedure has a very high success rate. We will use a scalpel to remove the cancerous tissue before closing the wound with sutures. This is usually carried out under local anaesthetic to ensure you remain comfortable during treatment.
If you have a superficial BCC, it’s worth considering curettage and cautery. During this procedure we will use a curette to gently scrape off the tumour. This will cause bleeding, but this is stopped using electrocautery. The curettage and cautery method is carried out under local anaesthetic and can be just as effective as excision in successfully removing the cancerous cells.
During cryosurgery, we will apply cold liquid nitrogen to the lesion to destroy the cancerous cells. This type of treatment is effective if you have a superficial BCC. You may be invited back to the clinic for review and possible repeat treatment to ensure all the cancerous tissue is removed.
If the BCC is located near your eyes, nose or mouth, we may recommend this as the most appropriate treatment, particularly if it’s difficult to determine the edge of the lesion. The procedure involves removing the skin layer within the BCC. The specimen will be frozen and examined under a microscope to make sure the BCC has been removed entirely.
In some cases, BCC can be treated without surgery. If your BCC is superficial, you could benefit from applying a topical cream called Imiqimod. This treatment has a high success rate and all you need to do is rub the cream onto the lesion five times a week for around six weeks.
Our dermatologists might recommend an alternative topical cream called 5-Fluorouracil. The success rate is similar to Imiqimod but you’ll need to apply the cream twice a day for around one month.
If you’re worried about any kind of skin lesion, it’s important to see a qualified dermatologist as soon as possible. The team at The Dermatology Clinic London are here to put your mind at rest and provide the best treatment for you. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.