How can you prevent basal cell carcinoma (BCC)?

Being safe in the sun is the best way to prevent BCC and other skin cancers. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid being in the sun from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher each day. If you will be outside for longer periods of time, use a broad spectrum sunscreen that is water-resistant and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Put the sunscreen on 30 minutes before going outside. Put sunscreen on again every two hours, or more frequently if you have been swimming or sweating a lot.
  • Use protective clothing that has built-in sun protection, which is measured in UPF. Also, use broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  • Do your own skin self-exam about once per month and see a dermatologist about one time per year for a professional skin exam.
  • Have any skin changes examined as soon as possible by a healthcare provider.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/05/2019.

References

  • Skin Cancer Foundation. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Accessed 7/5/2019.
  • American Academy of Dermatology. Basal cell carcinoma. Accessed 7/5/2019.
  • National Cancer Institute. Skin Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)—Patient Version. Accessed 7/5/2019.
  • Krishna SM, Garrett AB, Forman SB. Basal Cell Carcinoma. In: Kelly A, Taylor SC, Lim HW, Serrano A. eds. Taylor and Kelly's Dermatology for Skin of Color, 2e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  • Tang JY, Epstein, Jr. EH, Oro AE. Basal Cell Carcinoma and Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome. In: Kang S, Amagai M, Bruckner AL, Enk AH, Margolis DJ, McMichael AJ, Orringer JS. eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology, 9e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  • Merck Manual Consumer Version. Basal cell carcinoma. Accessed 7/5/2019.

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