Skin cancer

A place for people affected by any type of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Possible BCC questions

Posted by


In January I started getting a spot on my cheek, that scabbed and would not heal. A couple of months later I asked my husband to look at it - as I found it difficult to look at properly in the mirror. He said it was my freckle..I noticed that yes it was my freckle and it was like it was coming off. 

Over time it changed and now on close inspection looks like a wart type growth (same colour as my skin). I have agoraphobia amongst other mental health issues so kept putting off going to GP. My CPN however offered to take me and we went this morning.

My GP looked at it and said it looks like Basal Cell Cancer (but he said it is not cancer) that he would refer me for removal and biopsy. 

Firstly I am confused by that statement Basal cell cancer but not cancer? what does that mean?

Also what should I expect from my referral? Timescales? How is the procedure performed? 

Thanks in advance

Posted by

Hello Mickeyjane,

First of all I am not medically qualified but I shall try to answer your quesions from my own experience and reading.

.1.  Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a cancer.  The only reason I can think of for your GP's statement is that he did not want to scare you. because BCC is one of the least serious cancers anyone could have.  It hardly ever spreads and virtually never spreads to other organs.  Nevertheless it is best to get rid of it otherwise it will continue to grow, albeit very slowly.

2,  Getting rid of it usually involves cutting it out with a margin of clear skin to make sure all cancer cells are removed.  There are creams and other techniques but these are only effective if the cancer is at a very early stage and very shallow.  Even then success rate is not as high as excision.

3.  You will be seen by a specialist.  He/she will decide what should be done - almost certainly excision. If he/she is concerned in any way about the characteristics of the lesion or suspects there is a chance it could be SCC (a little more serious than BCC) he/she will treat your case  as urgent and you will not wait long for the procedure.  However, if it is a small BCC with no complications you may have quite a wait - quite simply because it is not too serious. But don't worry there is a reason why these things are prioritised.  How long you wait varies across the country - my wait has been around 2 or 3 months.

4.  Assuming you have an excision, you will attend hospital as a day patient.  You will be made to feel at ease, and then be given a local anaesthetic which will sting a bit,  The lesion will be cut out - you will feel nothing - you will have a few stitches and, after a cup of tea be sent home.  The operation itself takes minutes - its over before you know it.

5.  A week later you will have the stitches removed at your local GP and 4 to 6 weeks after that go back to see your consultant who will have the results from the lab of the analysis of your lesion.  He/she ill confirm all of the cancer has been removed and In all likelihood, that will be that and you will be discharged.

Hope this helps a little.  Good luck.


Posted by

Hi Bill

Wow! thank you - that is such good information you have given me and it all makes sense. 

I will just wait then.

I knew asking on here would be better than me Googling.

Kind regards


Mrs H.
Posted by

Thank you so much, you also helped me with my concerns, my GP left me confused as well. Ive not been able to sleep since she told me i had skin cancer and then sent me packing with no more  information than "no to worry".

This is a great site!

Thank you! 


Posted by

Hi Sue

I know it is ok for them to be so blase about it. My GP just said "I think it is basal cell carcinoma - it is a cancer but not a cancer" How confused was I? lol

He said "we will need to cut it out and biopsy it" now this is when I panicked as a few years ago I saw him with my daughter who had a mole on her arm that she felt had changed in size and he said to her "lets cut it off now" we declined as hers did not appear cancerous to him, we were shocked he could just do it there in the surgery within our 10 minute slot. I was relieved when he said he would refer me . 

Anyway now it is just a waiting game.

Have you just been recently diagnosed too?

Kind regards