Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
A basal cell carcinoma, also known as a BCC or rodent ulcer, is the most common type of skin cancer- in fact it’s the most common cancer people get in the world and usually occurs on the head or neck. Dr Ghura is a Consultant Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon in Manchester and an expert on Basal Cell Cancer.
What causes Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of BCC which is why they mainly occur on the face. People are often concerned that BCCs may run in families but this is very rare.
Who’s at risk of getting Basal Cell Carcinoma?
- People with pale skin who easily burn
- People who have had a lot of sun exposure for example through working outdoors or spending a lot of time outside or living abroad.
- People who have used sun beds or regularly sunbathed.
What do Basal Cell Carcinomas look like?
BCCs can vary in their appearance so it’s important to see a Dermatologist with expertise in Skin Cancer early. Dr Vindy Ghura, Consultant Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon, Manchester, is an expert in BCCs. BCCs often present as spots on the face or neck that keep scabbing or bleeding and never fully heal. They aren’t normally sore or painful.
Are Basal Cell Carcinomas dangerous?
BCCs effectively never spread around the body (metastasis) or kill people. Sometimes patients ask therefore whether there is any need to treat them. If left untreated, BCCs will continue to grow and become wider and deeper eating away the normal skin and tissue. They usually occur on the face and are generally best treated with surgery so the earlier BCCs are treated, the better people do with smaller scars and a better cosmetic outcome. Some facial BCCs can also be “high- risk” and so it is important to seek advice and guidance as soon as possible from a Dermatologist with expertise in Skin Cancer like a Mohs Surgeon. Dr Ghura is an expert in BCC and one of the UK’s most senior Mohs Surgeon with well over 20 years of experience treating thousands of patients with Mohs Surgery in Manchester.
He is honoured and proud to have been elected President of the British Society for Dermatological Surgery (BSDS) to which almost all Mohs Surgeons in the UK belong to.
How will my Basal Cell Carcinoma be diagnosed?
Dr Ghura has great expertise in diagnosing and managing BCC which means he can often diagnose a patient’s BCC just by carefully examining the skin with specialist instrumentation under good lighting. Sometimes a biopsy will be needed and he will then take a small sample for further analysis.
Can Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) be cured?
If treated properly and first time by a Skin Cancer Specialist such as Dr Ghura, BCCs can almost always be cured. As an expert Mohs Surgeon, Dr Ghura can offer a cure rate of up to 99% for BCCs even in difficult sites on the face such as near the eye, nose or lip. Treatment becomes more difficult when BCCs have been previously misdiagnosed or insufficiently treated so it is always best to seek expert advice from a Consultant Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon like Dr Ghura straight away.
How can a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) be treated?
Dr Ghura is one of the UK’s most senior experts in the treatment of BCCs and has been elected President of the British Society for Dermatological Surgery (BSDS). He will always advise you on the best treatment in your particular case.
Treatment methods include:
- Excision: most often the BCC is removed under local anaesthetic and the wound stitched afterwards.
- Mohs surgery – Mohs surgery is specialised highly precise surgical technique for removing BCCs particularly on the face.
- Radiotherapy– or X Ray treatment– X-rays are shone onto the BCC and the surrounding area over several hospital visits. This treatment is usually reserved for patients that cannot have surgery for example because they are not well enough or actively do not want surgery. It does not work as well as surgery meaning the BCC can recur and then require more difficult surgery. Radiotherapy still leaves a scar which can worsen over time.
- Creams and Photodynamic treatment (PDT)– only very thin “superficial” BCCs can be treated with chemotherapy creams which do not work for thicker BCCs. Dr Ghura will advise if this is an option.