Above: Basal cell carcinoma is the least deadly of the three types of skin cancer - like melanoma it can also present itself in different forms
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in the world and it tends to be slow growing. While it is very common, particularly in countries like Australia and New Zealand, very few people die from BCC as it’s usually treatable – again, as long as it it detected early3.
Basal cell carcinomas start in basal cells, which are located in the lower layers of the skin. Often, they appear as a change in the skin, such as a growth or a sore that doesn’t heal. BCCs tend to occur on the face, ears, neck, back of the hands, arms and shoulders. They’re particularly common in older males, but they can also affect females and younger adults.
Long-term sun damage is a risk factor, and so is repeated sunburn or sunbed use. Having fair skin increases your risk, although it can also affect those with darker skin too.
What are the signs of basal cell carcinoma?
Symptoms of BCC may include:
- waxy small raised lesions (papules) with a depressed centre
- Ulcer-like appearance or pearl-like and translucent
- A tendency to bleed
- Red and scaly, oozing or crusted areas
- Raised borders
- Black-blue or brown areas
They can vary in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter.
If you’re concerned you might have BCC, book a skin check to find out.