There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. BCC,also know as ‘rodent ulcer’ is a non-melanoma skin cancer, and is the most common type of all skin cancer in the UK.
The commonest cause is too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or from sun beds. Basal cell carcinomas can occur anywhere on your body, but are most common on areas that are exposed to the sun, such as your face, head, neck and ears.
Basal cell carcinomas mainly affect fair skinned adults and are more common in men than women. Those with the highest risk of developing a basal cell carcinoma are fair skin people who have had a lot of exposure to the sun.
Most basal cell carcinomas are painless. People often first become aware of them as a scab that bleeds occasionally and does not heal completely but thy can also have a lumpy or ‘pearly’ appearance. If left alone or neglected they can eventually erode the skin causing an ulcer – hence the name “rodent ulcer”.
Mr Abood will often be able to make the diagnosis from its appearance on close examination. If further investigation is necessary a small area of the abnormal skin (a incisional biopsy) or all of the lesion (an excision biopsy) may be cut out and examined under the microscope. You will be given a local anaesthetic beforehand to numb the skin.
Yes, basal cell carcinomas can be cured in almost every case, although treatment becomes complicated if they have been neglected for a very long time, or if they are in an awkward place - such as near the eye, nose or ear. Seldom, if ever, do they spread to other parts of the body.