Basal Cell Carcinoma - Overview

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What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It develops in the basal cells—the ones responsible for producing new skin cells as old ones die off. It typically shows up as a translucent bump on your skin but can take on various other appearances as well. It can appear anywhere, even on less sun-exposed areas like your trunk or limbs. If you're someone with lighter skin, you have a higher chance of developing this cancer.

Sunlight and its ultraviolet (UV) rays are often the causes behind basal cell carcinomas, with prolonged exposure increasing your risk. It is more common in people with high levels of sun exposure when they where young , including frequent episodes of sunburn. The good news is that this skin cancer grows slowly, and when spotted early, it can be treated with a high success rate.


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If you notice changes in your skin, don't delay. Schedule an appointment with our London-based skin specialists today. 

Basal Cell Carcinoma Stages

Basal cell carcinoma is known for being a less aggressive type of skin cancer and doesn't typically follow the usual staging system like other cancers. That's because it's rare for basal cell carcinomas to spread, and staging is usually about how far the cancer has spread. But when assessing how serious a BCC case is, doctors might use stages based on certain risk factors.

While most cancers measure stages by size and how far they've spread, basal cell carcinoma risk factors include how thick the tumour is, whether it's grown deeper into the skin, or if it's started to affect the tiny nerves.

Doctors use a staging system that goes from 0 to 4:

Stage 0:

  • The earliest stage where the cancer hasn't gone past the top layer of skin.

Stage 1:

The cancer is less than 2 cm across, hasn't spread to any organs or lymph nodes, and doesn't have higher-risk features.

Stage 2:

The cancer is bigger than 2 cm or could be smaller but comes with more than one high-risk feature. Still, it hasn't moved to any lymph nodes or other organs.

Stage 3:

  • At this stage, the cancer might have grown into bones of the face or maybe hit one nearby lymph node, but it's not found in any other organs.

Stage 4:

  • This is the most advanced stage where the cancer could be any size, may have reached the lymph nodes, and could have spread to bones or other parts of the body.


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