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  • Musician Kevin Jonas announced he has undergone treatment for basal cell carcinoma.
  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer.
  • About 1 in 5 people will develop the condition at some point in their life.

Kevin Jonas, the 36-year-old member of the pop group the Jonas Brothers, has announced that he has undergone treatment for basal cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that about 5.4 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year.

In a post on Instagram this week, Jonas revealed he was having the skin cancer removed at a physician’s office that day.

“Today, I’m having a basal cell carcinoma removed from my head,” Jonas said in the video. “Yes that is an actual little skin cancer guy that has started to grow and now I have to get surgery to remove it. So here we go.”

After undergoing the procedure, Jonas is seen in his car heading home.

“Make sure to get those moles checked, people,” he said.

Basal cell carcinoma is often skin-colored unlike other forms of skin cancer like melanoma.

There are various forms of basal cell carcinoma, and it’s unclear which type Jonas has been diagnosed with. He has shared that the affected area was on his forehead.

Krista M. Rubin, MS, FNP-BC, a nurse practitioner at the Mass General Cancer Center’s Center for Melanoma, says that the condition can show itself in many different forms.

Basal cell cancer (BCC) typically presents as a slow growing, flesh-colored, smooth bump with a ‘pearly’ or shiny appearance. The lesion may have rolled borders and often have visible blood vessels. BCC may be described as ‘a sore that won’t heal’. On dark skin, BCC can look like a shiny or pearly brown or black bump. There are different subtypes of BCC that have different characteristic appearances, but they all have something in common; they appear as a change in the skin,” Rubin said.

According to experts like Karen Connolly, MD, a dermatologic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, basal cell carcinoma rarely metastasizes to the point of being life-threatening but removing the cancer can lead to issues.

“The bigger concern with basal cell is that it tends to appear in areas where you get sun exposure, so the head and neck area,” Connolly said. “Those areas that are always exposed, are the highest risk locations to develop a basal cell so people can get them on areas that are functionally and cosmetically really important, and that can be problematic.”

Connolly said one sign you may have a basal cell carcinoma is if you have an area of skin that just won’t heal.

“Patients can check their own skin and there are certain basal cells that would be hard for a layperson to diagnose, but then, certain ones, If someone has a non-healing area, or pimple-like growth that just doesn’t seem to go away or is new,” Connolly said. “If they have an area that just continues to bleed and then heal, and then bleed again, those are the types of signs that people can notice at home and know that they have to go get evaluated, too.”

Min Deng, MD, dermatologist and director of Mohs micrographic surgery at MedStar Health as well as an associate professor of dermatology at Georgetown University, says that it’s particularly important to get checked if you’ve been previously diagnosed with this form of skin cancer before, to see your medical provider regularly.

“Once an individual has developed a basal cell cancer, there’s about a 44% risk, almost half of patients will develop another one within three years,” Deng said. “Once somebody has developed one, usually we recommend they get a full skin check at least once a year with a dermatologist

Deng also says that skin cancer can affect people of different skin tones, not just people with lighter skin.

“Everybody gets sun, including patients with darker skin tone. And the number of patients I’ve had come in, thinking they were coming in for one thing, and then lo and behold, it’s a skin cancer, and they typically are larger by the time they do come in, or they’re in more complex areas where they require larger surgery,” Deng said. “Everybody can get skin cancer. If you have skin, it has the potential to develop skin cancer.”

Deng says that she is hopeful that Jonas’ public announcement could have a positive effect on the awareness and treatment of skin cancer,

“I think sometimes, especially in my younger patient population, a lot of them have never gone through a medical procedure or a surgical procedure,” Deng said. “I think people also delay it…because the most sun-exposed area on our bodies is probably our face and that’s also where people are probably least likely to want a biopsy until they have to, until it’s bigger, or it’s really obvious. My hope is that this brings more awareness to how common it is.”

There is a broad range of treatments for basal cell carcinoma. There are traditional surgical options, minimally invasive options, radiation treatments, topical creams, pill-based interventions, and electrodesiccation and curettage, a process where the skin cancer is burned and scraped off.

Radiation and pharmacological options are generally limited to those who are not viable candidates for surgery due to risk of complications.

The best advice to reduce your risk of skin cancer is to avoid intense sun exposure. This means using and applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you’re going outside you can also wear comfortable clothing that covers at-risk areas on your head, shoulder, and back. Experts also recommend avoiding going outside when the sun’s rays are the strongest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pop star Kevin Jonas shared that he had a type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma that had to be removed. Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer.