Skin Cancer Surgery - Basal Cell Carcinoma
What types of treatment are used?
Fortunately, BCCs are very slow growing forms of skin cancer and usually remain in the outer layer of the skin. This type of cancer does not spread to other parts of the body.
However, if left untreated, they can cause disfigurement. They are usually treated by surgery, radiotherapy or cryotherapy. The diagnosis is confirmed by sending the tumour (cancerous growth) or a small portion of it (biopsy) away to be examined under the microscope. It may take two weeks or more for the results of the biopsy to be ready.
If tumours are small, the complete removal of the tissue for diagnosis will also act as a cure.
Occasionally it is necessary to repair the area with a skin graft or other types of plastic surgery.
What is the future?
Following treatment, if all the cancer has been removed, you should view yourself as ‘cured’. If you have had one BCC, you are more at risk of developing another.
Therefore, as with your original skin cancer, you need to examine your skin for any abnormal growths every 3-6 months to detect early warning signs.
Check for any existing or new skin lumps or moles that enlarge, change colour, bleed or itch. Most changes are harmless but they may indicate an early cancer. Please contact your doctor if in doubt.
Take care whilst in the sun, by wearing protective clothing and using high factor sunscreens (SPF 15+). Wearing a hat with a large brim is recommended.
Avoid strong sunshine during 11am to 3pm if possible. Avoid using sunbeds.
Pass on the message to friends and family about protecting themselves and checking alterations in moles and their skin. It is particularly important to protect children from strong sunlight.