Skin Cancer

Many of us in Australia who enjoy the sun and outdoor living are acutely aware of the dangers of skin cancer. Yet we’re often unsure of the many different types of skin cancer, their causes and treatments. Rest assured Dr Buckland has the expertise and has undergone considerable training to deal with all forms of skin cancer.

BCC - Basal
Cell Carcinoma

70% of Australians of Caucasian heritage will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Diligent sun protection and regular skin surveillance and treatment will limit the cosmetic and functional  impact of these lesions.

Basal Cell Carcinoma make up approximately 70% of skin malignancies.

 The discovery of a red lump or open sore on your skin can be of great concern. It could be a Basal Cell Carcinoma, or ‘BCC’ for short. Dr Buckland has extensive experience in dealing with BCCs and can offer a solution.

BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells which line the deepest layer of the epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin.

They often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative UV exposure and intense, occasional UV exposure. BCCs can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow but rarely spread beyond the original tumour site.

Only in exceedingly rare cases can BCCs spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. BCCs are the most frequently occurring form of skin cancer.

Recognising a Basal Cell Carcinoma

BCCs often take on unassuming disguises, blending into the cityscape of your skin. They may manifest as:

  • Open sores: Like wounds that refuse to heal, BCCs can appear as persistent, crusted lesions.
  • Red patches: Patches of raised, erythematous skin can signal the presence of a hidden threat.
  • Pink growths: Pearly or translucent bumps, sometimes with tiny blood vessels at their core, can be BCC in disguise.
  • Shiny bumps: Smooth, waxy-looking bumps, often translucent or pearly, can harbour the BCC’s silent presence.
  • Scars: BCCs can mimic old scars, making them particularly tricky to identify.

The Sun’s Influence

Sunlight, particularly its ultraviolet rays, acts as the primary villain in this silent drama. Repeated sun exposure over years, or intense bursts like sunburns, leave their mark on DNA, triggering the uncontrolled growth of these basal cells. BCCs favour sun-kissed areas like the face, ears, neck, and chest, though any area can fall prey.

Treating A Basal Cell Carcinoma

Dr Garry Buckland is a highly skilled skin cancer plastic surgeon who can provide accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma skin cancers. For more information contact us today.

  1. Diagnosis and Staging:

Diagnosis often begins with a clinical examination by a GP, dermatologist or skin cancer specialist. A biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the subtype of BCC. Staging helps assess the extent of cancer spread and guides treatment decisions.

  1. Surgical Interventions:

Excisional Surgery (+/- Frozen section examination): 

  • Description: Surgical removal of the tumour and a margin of normal tissue.
  • Indication: Standard treatment for most BCCs.
  • Advantages: High cure rates; minimises the risk of recurrence.
  • Disadvantages: Potential scarring.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery: 

  • Description: A specialised surgical technique that removes the tumour layer by layer, minimising damage to healthy tissue.
  • Indication: Recommended for BCCs if indistinct margins or infiltrating subtype in cosmetically sensitive or high-risk areas.
  • Advantages: High precision; tissue preservation.
  1. Radiation Therapy:
  • Description: Utilises targeted radiation to eliminate cancer cells.
  • Indication: Considered for BCCs in challenging anatomical locations or when surgery is not advisable.
  • Advantages: Non-invasive; suitable for specific cases.
  • Disadvantages: Long term tissue atrophy and a potential for further malignancy.
  1. Topical Medications:


  • Description: Topical creams that stimulate the immune system or induce cell death in cancerous cells.
  • Indication: Appropriate for certain superficial BCCs.
  • Advantages: Non-invasive; suitable for specific cases, and minimal scarring.
  • Disadvantages: Higher local recurrence rates.
  1. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) – Offered by Dermatologists:
  • Description: Involves applying a photosensitising agent to the tumour and then exposing it to light to destroy cancer cells.
  • Indication: Suitable for certain superficial BCCs.
  • Advantages: Non-invasive; minimal scarring.
  1. Laser Therapy – Offered by Dermatologists:
  • Description: Uses laser energy to target and eliminate abnormal cells.
  • Indication: Applicable for specific superficial BCCs.
  • Advantages: Precise; minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
  1. Targeted Therapy:

Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors:

  • Description: Targets specific genetic mutations associated with BCC.
  • Indication: Used for advanced or metastatic BCC.
  • Advantages: Precision-targeted; alternative for specific cases.

The choice of treatment is determined by factors such as the type, size, location, and subtype of BCC, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences.

Regular follow-up examinations are crucial to monitor for recurrence and manage potential side effects. Early detection and intervention are key to successful outcomes, and collaboration with a dermatologist or healthcare professional ensures an individualised and effective strategy for managing Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Be Sun Safe

 The best strategy is to avoid the risks posed by the sun.

  • Practice sun safety: Seek shade, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, and avoid peak sun hours.
  • Know your skin: Regularly self-examine and be aware of any changes in the appearance of your skin.
  • Don’t ignore the signs: If you notice any suspicious changes, don’t hesitate to seek Dr Buckland’s expert advice.

Remember, early detection is your most potent weapon. Embrace the sun, but do so with vigilance and awareness, and remember, Dr Buckland stands ready to help you navigate the complexities of this skin cancer with expertise and compassion.

How Do You Treat A Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Dr Garry Buckland is a highly skilled skin cancer plastic surgeon who can provide accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma skin cancers. For more information contact us today.