Kevin Jonas says it's 'time to heal' after having skin cancer removed from his forehead. What is basal cell carcinoma?

The 36-year-old singer documented the procedure to remove a small bump from his head with fans on Instagram.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

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Kevin Jonas recently had a procedure to remove skin cancer from his forehead. (Image via Getty Images)

Kevin Jonas has urged fans to get their moles checked after announcing he had surgery to remove skin cancer. On Tuesday, the 36-year-old singer took to Instagram to share the news that he had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a form of skin cancer.

"So today I am getting a basal cell carcinoma removed from my head,” Jonas said, providing a close up of the small bump just below his hairline. “Yes, that is a actual little skin cancer guy that started to grow, and now I have to get surgery to remove it.”

Following the removal, Jonas said, "Now it’s time to heal, heading home. Make sure to get those moles checked, people!”

Jonas's post received praise from followers for being upfront about his diagnosis.

"Thank you for being real and honest about your situation. Skin cancer is always looked at from a 'cut it off and done' kind of cancer," someone wrote. "You sharing opens doors for others to realize how important it is to check your skin! Hope surgery went well and keep sharing your experiences, it truly matters."

"So sorry to hear about your BCC, Kevin," wrote The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Thank you for raising awareness. Early detection is key. Wishing you the best on your recovery journey.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) accounts for approximately 75 to 80 per cent of skin cancers. It begins in basal cells, which are located on the bottom of the epidermis and divide to form new skin cells. BCC is a slow-growing, non-melanoma form of skin cancer that usually presents on areas of the body often exposed to the sun, like the head, neck, face and arms. When detected early, BCC has a high-survival rate and is considered treatable. However, when left untreated, BCC can spread to nearby areas of the body, such as the cartilage and skin.

While melanoma typically begins as dark or asymmetrical moles, BCC often looks like a sore that won't heal. BCC can appear as sores that bleed or won't heal, raised or scaly red patches, a growth that itches, pale white or yellow flat areas that look like scars, or a pink growth with raised edges. They can also look like translucent or skin-coloured bump or a black, blue or brown lesion with a translucent border.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. (Image via Getty Images)
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. (Image via Getty Images)

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and non-surgical treatments like cryotherapy are a few of the treatment options for BCC depending on the stage of cancer.

Even with treatment, it's possible for BCC to reoccur, and it does increase your risk of developing other skin cancers.

Anyone can develop skin cancer, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

  • chronic sun exposure without protective clothing or sunscreen

  • indoor tanning

  • family history of skin cancer

  • light coloured skin, hair and eyes

  • weakened immune system

  • previous radiation therapy

  • hereditary conditions that make you vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation

Although it's the most common, BCC is not the only form of skin cancer. Although there are rare forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma are the second and third most common forms of skin cancers. Skin cancer symptoms vary by type — and being aware of the signs and symptoms can help ensure it's detected early.

Squamous cells are flat cells found in the tissue of the surface of the skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, SCC typically occurs on sun-exposed skin like the scalp, hands, ears and lips — however it can occur anywhere on the body, including the inside of the mouth and genitals.

Symptoms of SCC can include a sore that doesn’t heal or returns after healing, raised lumps or “nodules” on the skin that may crust or bleed easily. It can also take the form of growths that look like a wart that may itch.

According to Health Canada, melanoma is the least common but "most serious" form of skin cancer. Melanoma often begins as an abnormal mole that may change shape or colour.

The acronym ABCDE can help you know the signs and symptoms of skin cancer:

  • A for asymmetrical. Moles could be cancerous if one side of the mole looks doesn't match the other. The mole might not be circular, but have a jagged edge.

  • B for border. An uneven, jagged or blurry border of the mole could be cause for concern.

  • C for colour. If a mole has different colours through out (tan, brown or black) or features other colours like blue, grey, red, pink or white, ask your doctor for an exam or biopsy.

  • D for diameter. If your mole is larger than 1/4 inch in size, it should be examined by a specialist.

  • E for evolving. If you notice the shape, size or colour of your mole change, or it suddenly becomes itchy or burns, visit your healthcare provider for an exam.

Wearing sunscreen that's SPF 30 or higher year round, along with protective clothing like hats, sunglasses and long sleeve clothing in light fabric, are some of the best ways to protect yourself against skin cancer. Other ways to protect yourself are to avoid tanning and limit sun exposure when the sun is at its strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Moreover, be sure to do body checks for any moles or spots that look suspicious or have changed in appearance. Visit a dermatologist or your health-care provider if there are any areas that may cause concern.

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