On call: Does skin cancer come back?

Image: Thinkstock

Q. I recently had a basal cell carcinoma of the skin removed. Will it come back? Can I prevent a recurrence?

A. After being removed, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin does recur at some other spot on the body in about 40% of people. Routine skin examinations can find repeat cancers while they are still small. The exams should cover the entire body, including the top of your head, the backs of your ears, and the bottoms of your feet. BCC often appears as a waxy or pearly colored bump.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »