Nonmelanoma skin cancers

Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most common cancer in the United States, accounting for more than one million new cases annually.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) constitute nearly all NMSC, and the incidence of these tumors continues to increase. One of the major, preventable risk factors for nonmelanoma skin cancers is overexposure to the sun’s UV rays. In Ocean County, nonmelanoma skin cancers are on the rise because of close proximity to the shore. At least 75 percent of NMSC arises in the head and neck but they can be found on any sun exposed area of the body.

Most NMSC cases are controlled successfully by treatment or complete excision done in a dermatology office. However, nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with a lifelong risk of developing second primary skin cancers requiring periodic skin cancer screenings by a dermatologist. Compared with skin BCCs, skin SCCs are more likely to metastasize, and be a cause of mortality. To avoid deadly consequences of nonmelanoma skin cancer a regular, full body check-ups by a dermatologist are recommended.


BCC is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. More than one out of every three new cancers is a skin cancer, and the vast majority are BCCs. In 2010, an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC were diagnosed in the US, and the figures have continued to climb. It often look like open sores, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars; sometimes BCC can look like a dry patch and often mistaken for eczema.


SCCs often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts; they may crust, itch or bleed. They can become disfiguring and sometimes deadly if allowed to grow. An estimat-ed 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US, and between 3,900 and 8,800 people have died from the disease in the US in 2012. Incidence of the disease has increased up to 200 % in the past three decades in the US.


Treated timely with simple freezing spray, AKs are highly curable. If not treated, they will eventually turn into SCC.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer is mainly caused by cumulative ultraviolet (UV) exposure over the course of a lifetime; daily year-round exposure to the sun’s UV light, intense exposure in the summer months, and the UV produced by tanning beds all add to the damage that can lead to NMSC. Typically, nonmelanoma skin cancer can be treated with a relative-ly simple surgery. If the cancer is very small or in its precancer stage (AK), medicated creams prescribed by a dermatologist, cauterization (burning), or cryosurgery (freezing) is used to treat them.

Date of Publication:
February 14, 2017 at 7:25 pm