Origin Of Skin Cancers
Squamous cells form the upper part of the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin, which is constantly shed and replaced. Basal cells are in the lower part of the epidermis and divide to create the new squamous cells.
As with most types of cells in your body, they can grow in an uncontrolled way and form cancers. For these cells, by far the most common cause is exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light.
Although a growing problem in the UK and elsewhere, the good news is that diagnosis, treatment and cure are well proven. All the more so when the cancers are caught early, whichever type is found.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
A non melanoma condition which makes up about 80% of all skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads beyond the local area. The condition can still be cosmetically undesirable and create unpleasant symptoms.
Whilst BCCs are often painless and relatively benign, they can form a scab which bleeds and is resistant to healing. Left for sufficient time, the scabbing may erode your skin and cause ulcers, sometimes called “rodent ulcers”.
Even when superficial, BCCs form a scaly red mark, or pearl like lesion. They can become more evident, when shiny nodules are criss-crossed by easily seen blood vessels.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Whilst also a non melanoma skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma does have a larger potential to spread. Not in the same league as aggressive skin cancers such as melanoma but sufficient to raise concern.
Serious health risks apart, SCC is as personally and cosmetically undesirable as BCC. Scaly, or wart like lesions can bleed or ulcerate in a similar way and if left, have the potential to spread locally.
Bearing in mind the common occurrence of SCC on parts of the face, this is a significant issue. What starts as a small wart, could over time become seriously disfiguring.
Treatment For BCCs & SCCs
You may have seen our section on skin cancer diagnosis. Whilst medical science is not exact science, we can say that our skilled consultants will in almost every case correctly diagnose BCC and SCC.
Should they need to go beyond visual recognition, the finest digital microscopy is available to them and support from a specialist lab.
In a significant proportion of cases, the decision will be to surgically remove the cancerous tissue. Performed well, this is the most adept way to ensure a cure really is a cure.
In minor cases, or where surgery is not feasible, curettage (scraping), cauterising, or freezing the infected area can be effective. Creams and a light based treatment called photodynamic therapy are other possibilities.
Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy can be used to treat SCC and very rarely BCC. This may be in combination with surgery and normally in more advanced cases, when the cancer has spread elsewhere.
Care At Our London Clinic
You can be assured of personal support and the finest surgeons. This includes the availability of Mohs surgery, a technique developed for skin cancers, to maximise cure rates and minimise cosmetic damage.
We work with areas of your body which are highly visible and take great care during all surgery. In cases where significant removal of tissue is needed to ensure the right result, plastic surgery is available.
By all means read more on the surgical techniques we use to bring aesthetic and medical satisfaction. Or get in touch with our friendly staff and talk through your requirements, you will be made welcome.