Name: Basal Cell Carcinoma
Frequency: Makes up about 75% of all skin cancers
Cure Rate: Close to 100% with early detection and proper treatment
About: Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cells usually appear on sun exposed areas, most commonly the face and neck, but also on the trunk, arms and legs.
What to Look For:
- A firm, flesh coloured or slightly reddish bump, often with a pearly border. It may have small blood vessels on the surface which gives it a red colour.
- A sore or pimple-like growth that bleeds, crusts over and then reappears. Any sore that does not heal within four weeks should be examined by your dermatologist.
- A small, red scaling patch seen most often on the trunk or limbs.
Image courtesy of Canadian Dermatology Association
What to Do:
- Book an appointment with your family doctor. If there is anything unusual,some family physicians will do a biopsy or treat it first, some will refer to a dermatologist.
- Dermatologists are skin specialists. If the area looks suspicious, the dermatologist will conduct a biopsy to see if there are any abnormal cells.
How It’s Treated:
Treatment options depend on the tumour (size, location etc.) and the patient's own health status
- Simple excision
- Electrodessication and curettage
- Mohs micrographic surgery
- Topical treatment with imiquimod
- Radiation therapy
- A clinical trial of biologic therapy