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Home skin basics Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

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What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer in the UK with about 100,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. BCC is treatable and seldom spreads to other parts of the body.

What Causes It?

The most common cause is UV exposure from the sun or sunbeds and therefore, the most common places are on exposed areas on the body. For example, your face, head, ears and neck. BCC is most common in fair skinned people, so people with freckles, fair skin and blond or red hair. People who are outdoors a lot either working outside or playing outdoor sports have a higher risk of a BCC.

What to look for

A BCC often appears as a scab that might bleed sometimes, but does not heal completely. It might look a bit lumpy with a shiny nodule or it might have a pearl-like rim. Sometimes, it can be a flat red mark.

If you are worried about anything on your skin, get it checked out.

What’s the treatment?

The commonest treatment for BCC is surgery. The BCC is cut out and some clear skin around it is also taken. Other treatments include;

  • Creams - these can be applied to the skin
  • Curettage & Cautery - the BCC is scraped away and the skin surface is sealed
  • Cryotherapy - freezing the BCC with liquid nitrogen
  • Radiotherapy - the BCC is given x-ray treatment


What can you do

If you have any marks or scabs on your body that are not healing or are changing in any way then get them checked out.

  • Follow the SunSmart Code
  • Remember that winter sun contains just as much damaging UV as summer sun
  • Don't use sunbeds


skin cancer

the second most common in young people


the deadliest form of skin cancer

Catch it early - it can be stopped