Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Basal-cell Carcinoma

Usually I don't write a lot about cancer even though it is one of the main reasons behind the creation of JOLI Natural Skin Care (avoiding carcinogenic ingredients).  However, three people I know have recently had surgery to remove basal-cell carcinoma (skin cancer).

This got me wondering what is basal-cell carcinoma [BCC]?

Basal-cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of cancer and most often occurs in fair skinned people with a family history of this type of cancer.  Scary for me since both my Aunt and my mum (sisters with fair skin and freckles), have had BCC's removed.

Most experts attribute sun exposure and/or getting sun burnt to be one of the main causes of skin cancer and believe prevention is the best cure.  That is: no getting burnt, no spending excess time exposing your skin to the sun and using SPF sun creams [slip, slop, slap].

I, personally tend to be wary of the use of sunscreens since many contain carcinogenic ingredients and nano technology to help those ingredients get deeper into our blood stream.  I feel like I'm damned if I do damned if I don't.  And what do I do with my children?  Use sun block on them and risk them getting cancer or don't use it and risk them getting basal-cell carcinoma?  Urgh!

Here is an article Safest Sunscreens Recommended by Environmental Working Group you might like to read.  It talks about the reasons why some sunscreens are a bit dubious and mentions some of the good guys.

Note some interesting Skin Cancer Facts:
* 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their life time.
* 2-4% of Asians will develop skin cancer.
* 1-2% African Americans will develop skin cancer (note the darker the skin the less likelihood of developing skin cancer)
* While Asians and African's do not develop skin cancer as often as fair skinned people their cancer is more likely to result in death.  [This probably has a lot to do with their health care (or lack thereof) in general.]

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Have you or someone you know experienced basal-cell carcinoma?  Was fair skin a factor?  Was sun worship a factor?  Was applying sun cream or lack thereof a factor?

Would love to hear more from you all about this.


  1. Thank you Jodi! This topic is close to me, I've had a BCC removed recently and I am very thankful! While it's the non-aggressive type, it's still a cancer which is scary in itself. As for sunscreen, I'm researching my butt off and trying hard to find ones that are the least harmful to mine and my family's skin.
    As for the cause of why I got this, firstly let me reiterate - it's cancer. Cancer doesn't have a conscience, it doesn't discriminate. I've read on the Cancer Council's website that it can be triggered as a tiny cell or just presented in the body by 1 - just 1 - instance of sunburn as a child. And now is very common in older adults as we, and our parents & grandparents, didn't know then what we know now.
    PREVENTION is the key!!!! Don't get burned or even slightly tanned by the sun, it's that simple. Our Aussie sun is SO damaging, we need better protection and better sense to live WITH it.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Shelley. The C word is a very scary word. The fact that it only takes being sunburned once during our lives to potentially trigger skin cancer is what is so frightening about it. Sadly I think there are very few people who can say they've never been sunburned.

  3. My father has a ridiculous number of skin cancers - both basal cell carcinomas and melanomas. When the former is superficial he has an ointment, but most of the latter are malignant, and he is needing skin grafts.
    The reason? The old worship of the sun culture; not a good idea for Bluey, the red-head!
    That being said, he skin cancers was compounded by one particular burn in the 70s. We had a sun-ray lamp to "toughen up our faces" prior to the ski season. Coming home late one night, Dad fell asleep under it. What saved him was the fact that he turned over after about an hour - like a rotisserie chicken. Apparently the burn was terrible, as we kids were not allowed to visit him in the hospital!
    Consequently I do not sun-bake, although I had enough sunburns from the beach and Sports Days in my childhood to be aware of any changes in my moles.. However, my avoidance of the sun has now led to me having low Vitamin D levels, and I've been told to take supplements.
    Vei me!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Your poor dad falling asleep under the lamp, I feel for him. I can image how bad the burn would have been and I can relate to you're reluctance to go out in the sun. Many of us are. As you point out we don't have to be deliberately sun baking to get burned either.
    You mention anther important point to consider as well, that is many of us who are avoiding the sun are now vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is our bodies own built in SPF. There are some experts who feel that total avoidance of the sun and not building up our natural SPF is yet another cause for an increase in skin cancer.

    When we live in the sunburnt country the sun is hard to avoid, especially as children and teens.