Causes and Symptoms

Skin Cancer

Find out more about common and rare skin conditions, the causes and symptoms and how we can help you treat these conditions
Basal Cell Carcinoma2019-12-04T13:21:40+11:00

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Causes & Symptoms

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of cancer in the world. The main cause for developing a BCC is due to high sun exposure, with basal cell carcinomas often occurring in sun exposed parts of the body. If you notice any changes in your skin, we highly recommend you book a skin check with one of our experienced specialists at The Skin Hospital.

BCCs usually grow slowly over months to years, and rarely spread to other areas of the body. In most cases, with proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment,this will cure BCCs. If the BCC is not treated correctly or is left untreated then this skin condition can become a problem. This could result in an increase in size as well as invading local structures.

Treatment at The Skin Hospital

The specific type of BCC as well as its location will determine the best treatment option. The following treatment options are available:

  • In some cases a biopsy will need to be taken under local anaesthetic. This can help confirm the diagnosis of the BCC.
  • Cryotherapy can be used for the superficial types of BCC. However, the treated area may be left a lighter colour.
  • Imiquimod cream can also be used for superficial types of BCC. This cream must be applied to the areas five times a week for a number of weeks
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be a highly effective treatment. This involves applying a cream to the affected area, after which a light source is applied to that area.
  • Surgery – some BCCs may require surgery such as scraping away the cancerous cells or having it removed. Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment option for large BCCs and can be used for cancerous cells found in difficult places, such as the face or nose.
  • Radiotherapy is also a highly effective treatment if surgery is not appropriate.

We always suggest using good sun protection measures to help reduce the risk of developing any kind of skin cancer, as prevention is better than a cure. You can find our skin protection guide here.

As well, we recommend regular skin checks due to Australians having high exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. People who have had one BCC are likely to develop more.

Furthermore, The Skin Hospital conducts clinical trials for treatment of certain cancers. If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial or finding out more information then please contact our clinical trial team.

The Skin Hospital runs a speciality clinic dedicated to the treatment of skin cancers at Darlinghurst and Westmead. If you would like to find out more about this speciality clinic please contact us.  The following doctors specialise in the treatment of skin cancers:

Dr Simon Lee
Darlinghurst & Westmead
Dr Tasman Lipscombe
Dr Nicholas Stewart
Darlinghurst & Westmead
Dr Gilberto Moreno-Bonilla

Further Information

If you would like further information on basal cell carcinoma, the below sites can provide a more in-depth descriptions of this type of skin cancer:

Basal Cell Carcinoma – DermNet NZ

Basal Cell Carcinoma – British Association of Dermatologists 


All our dermatologists are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating Basal Cell Carcinoma. Click on the link below to find a dermatologist who can help you with your skin condition.

General Dermotology