What is basal cell carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer. Together with squamous cell carcinoma, BCC is a type of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer.
The skin tumours of basal cell carcinoma often look like a small red, pink or pearly lump on otherwise normal skin. Over time they may enlarge, bleed or ulcerate. The tumours are caused by the uncontrolled growth of basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and often form in areas of sun-exposed skin. Basal cell carcinomas can spread to other parts of the body (metastasise), but this is very rare.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer in the UK. Some studies suggest that there are approximately 100,000 new cases of BCC each year. They account for about 75% of all non-melanoma skin cancers.
Your GP should be able to diagnose it but if in doubt may refer you to a dermatologist.
There are a variety of treatments that range from excision through to photo-dynamic therapy or anti-cancer creams.