Skin cancer: A recurring problem

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Indy Lifestyle Online

I have just been diagnosed with skin cancer on my forehead. It is going be removed in a couple of weeks. The dermatologist has said that I will be " cured" after the operation. Can one ever be truly cured of cancer? Isn't there always a risk that it will come back, either at the original place or somewhere else in the body?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

From your description, your skin cancer is probably a basal cell carcinoma sometimes called a BCC or rodent ulcer. It is the most common type of skin cancer, and also the least serious. BCCs are unusual cancers because they do not spread to other parts of the body. But they do tend to get bigger, and can begin to invade underlying tissues if left untreated. Normally they can be completely cured, leaving only a small scar. The two other types of skin cancer squamous cell carcinomas and malignant melanomas are more serious. Both can spread to other organs, and both can be fatal. If your cancer is a BCC, you should be cured of it, but no one can guarantee that you won't develop another one in the future.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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