Frequently Asked Questions
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)?
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and is caused by radiation from the sun. The classic appearance is a “pearly,” translucent papule (bump on the skin surface). With time, the surface of the lesion tends to ulcerate and bleed. It is slow-growing and when it is caught early in low-risk anatomic areas (torso, arms, legs), it can be easily treated by a variety of methods. A common problem, however, is that it frequently does not bleed or have other symptoms, and does not have the classic appearance described above. It can be very subtle and can be easily missed on physical examination by all but the most compulsive practitioners. Because of this, it is often misdiagnosed as not being cancer. What’s more, once someone does have a diagnosis of BCC, it is often underemphasized as “not being dangerous.” If it is not adequately treated, it will persist or recur and can become quite aggressive.
Am I at risk for skin cancer?
A person’s skin cancer risk relates to two factors: Their genetic susceptibility and the amount of radiation they have received. Skin cancer is caused by radiation from the sun, so the more radiation someone has received (with or without sunburns), the greater their risk of skin cancer. This risk increases as we age since we accumulate more and more sun exposure with time.
Genetically, some people are less susceptible to skin cancer. People with darker skin types have a higher natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor), which is protective against radiation damage. Others are genetically better at preventing progression to cancer once radiation damage has occurred. Therefore, some people may accumulate a lot of sun damage, but never develop a skin cancer, while others may have very little radiation exposure, but accumulate many skin cancers. Once someone has their first skin cancer, that proves they have had enough radiation exposure (for their genetic makeup) in that anatomic area to develop skin cancers. Since the surrounding area has accumulated similar amounts of radiation exposure, other skin cancers are more likely to occur in the future.
The Bowman Institute is pleased to provide the communities surrounding Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Land O’ Lakes, Lutz and Lakeland with the most advanced skin cancer treatments including Mohs surgery.