Basal Cell Carcinoma Dermatologist2019-05-21T11:58:07+00:00

Feel in charge of your skin

PERSONALISED DERMATOLOGY TREATMENT PLANS

AT RISK? TAKE SKIN CANCER QUIZ

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most prevalent type of skin cancer, accounting for 75% of the skin cancer we see

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF BASAL CELL CARCINOMA – AND HOW TO TREAT IT

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have basal cell carcinoma. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve your condition.

Book a consultation

Skin treatment enables people of all ages to take control of their skin condition and get their life back

AT RISK? TAKE SKIN CANCER QUIZ

How does basal cell carcinoma impact people on a day-by-day basis?

LIKE ANY FORM OF SKIN CANCER – BASAL CELL CARCINOMA CAN BE A WORRISOME CONDITION

Do you have an open sore or non-healing pink growth?

Commonly, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is very slow-growing and therefore doesn’t tend to be very noticeable. You might not develop any symptoms until further down the line. BCCs can occur on almost any part of the body but most commonly the sun-exposed areas such as the face, head and neck.

Basal Cell Carcinomas tend to be painless

BCCs tend to be quite painless. However, you might notice a slow-growing, non-healing spot that bleeds and scabs recurrently and doesn’t seem to settle down, or a non-healing ulcer. The appearance of these lesions might cause you to become anxious and urgently seek treatment.

Who gets Basal Cell Carcinoma and why?

We tend to see this problem as a result of chronic cumulative sun exposure, and it is particularly prevalent in people with fair skin. For example, if you have exposed yourself to the sun through your occupation (like outdoor workers do), or if you have spent much time outdoors through your hobbies.

Will others notice it?

Frankly, whether other people notice a BCC on your skin is irrelevant. Left untreated, a BCC can enlarge and cause disfigurement.

Basal Cell Carcinoma is highly treatable

Basal cell carcinoma carries an excellent prognosis, with a high cure rate and low risk of recurrence. However, if left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can become quite large, bleed and become difficult to then treat. 

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

FIND OUT HOW TO GET THE SKIN YOU WANT

CALL 0118 373 5198

How it works

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
STEP 2 – LET’S MEET
STEP 3 – RESOLUTION
CONTACT MY STAFF

Give us a call on 0118 373 5198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

MEET WITH ME

I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about basal cell carcinoma

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Basal cell carcinoma or BCC, otherwise known as a rodent ulcer, is slow-growing skin cancer. It is the most prevalent type of skin cancer that we see. Up to 75% of skin cancer is due to BCC. As far as skin cancer goes, this is on the mild end of the spectrum.  BCC is a slow-growing kind of skin tumour that does not tend to spread or pose any other further problems to your general health once I treat it.

Commonly, BCC is very slow-growing and therefore don’t tend to be very noticeable.

Patients don’t tend to develop any symptoms until further down the line.

BCCs tend to be quite painless. However, patients might notice a slow-growing, non-healing spot that bleeds and scabs recurrently and doesn’t seem to settle down, or a non-healing ulcer.

BCCs can occur on almost any part of the body but most commonly the sun-exposed areas such as the face, head and neck.

We tend to see this problem as a result of chronic cumulative sun exposure, and it is particularly prevalent in people with fair skin.

For example, if you have exposed yourself to the sun through your occupation (like outdoor workers do), or if you have spent much time doing hobbies outdoors.

People who have lived in sunny climates are also at higher risk.

People who have previously had a basal cell carcinoma are more likely to get another.

Very rarely, BCC can run in families, but it tends to present with other health problems as part of a syndrome.

I will offer you a full skin check which means that I will carefully examine your skin for any evidence of sun damage.

I will then carefully examine the area of the skin affected by the BCC, with a special lens known as a dermatoscope.

This will help me to determine whether the lesion is, in fact, a BCC, and what type it is likely to be.

I will then be able to give you advice on the best possible treatment options.

The type of treatment offered depends on the kind of BCC that I find on your skin as well as the area it affects and its size.

Sometimes, you will need a biopsy to ascertain the diagnosis first, before I recommend or offer any treatment.

If your BCC is of the superficial variety, then I will advise that we treat it as sun damage. Treatment includes a one-off treatment with liquid nitrogen spray, known as cryotherapy.

Alternative treatment consists of a cream known as Aldara or Imiquimod, which I recommend you use from Monday to Friday for six weeks. Side-effects include inflammation of the skin, but the cosmetic result can be excellent.

Another treatment option consists of curettage and cautery which includes skimming off the surface of the superficial skin tumour and cautery while under local anaesthetic.

Photodynamic therapy is another treatment option in superficial BCC. With this option, a nurse will apply a special cream to the BCC. The cells affected by BCC take up this cream and then react to a particular wavelength of light that is shone onto the skin. This treatment results in inflammation and ultimate resolution of the basal cell carcinoma.

If your type of BCC is of the nodular or other variety, then the gold standard of treatment is surgery. I can often perform this on the same day as your consultation. Treatment generally consists of removal of the skin tumour with a small margin of healthy skin around it to ensure that it’s entirely out and that it won’t grow back.

I mostly perform this on the same day as your consultation. It is a minor procedure involving an injection of local anaesthetic to numb the area.

In some cases, for example, when a tumour is too large for simple removal and direct closure, I may refer you to a specialist plastic surgeon for a skin graft or a skin flap.

In some cases, surgery might be tricky, or you might prefer not to have this type of treatment. In these cases, radiotherapy might be appropriate.

Radiotherapy involves projecting x-rays onto the affected area. This approach may include more than one visit and is performed under the direction of an oncologist.

Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialised form of operation that can be very useful in treating complex BCCs, for example, BCCs in a difficult anatomical site or with those BCC that are recurrent. As well, it’s useful for BCCs that are ill-defined (when the edge is difficult to distinguish).

Only a few dermatologists with subspecialist training undertake this procedure. This type of surgery involves removal of only the skin that they can see is involved with a tumour.

Then, a histopathologist then examines the excised sample under the microscope. If a tumour reaches any of the edges, then the dermatologist only removes further skin from the involved edge.

This approach assures the removal of only skin affected and preserves the most tissue possible. It also has the highest cure rate. This type of surgery is quite complex, and I will suggest it when a more straightforward operation is not appropriate.

“What is the prognosis in basal cell carcinoma?”

Basal cell carcinoma is a highly curable skin cancer with an excellent prognosis. There are many treatment options, and the one we use depends on your type of BCC.

“What normally happens after treatment?”

You typically need no follow-up after treatment because your BCC is highly unlikely to recur.

However, I advise that you take adequate precautions to protect your skin from the sun. You’ll have an increased risk of other BCCs occurring, and it is essential to check your skin regularly and seek specialist advice early if you notice a non-healing spot on your skin.

“How can I prevent more BCCs from occurring?”

The best way to reduce your risk is to take proper sun precaution measures. That means avoiding excessive sun exposure, staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing and using a good quality sunblock.

Affiliations and memberships

I AM PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS

Questions and answers

RELEVANT AND INFORMATIVE VIDEOS AND ARTICLES

How can you prevent rosacea?

Dr Penelope Pratsou discusses whether it is possible to prevent rosacea flare-ups and if lifestyle modifications can help to protect your skin. 

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

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