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Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 2 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Many are diagnosed with non-melanoma cancers including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are considered less serious. Yes, they are not considered as deadly as the melanoma cancer, however the idea that these non-melanoma cancers are not dangerous is misleading.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer and, although not deadly, they can cause other health issues if left untreated. Here are some facts about them:

Basal cell carcinoma

  • Grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body
  • Can grow wide and deep, destroying skin tissue and bone
  • Can become infected and cause disfigurement.

Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Can grow deep, destroying tissue and bone.
  • Can spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body
  • Can become infected and cause disfigurement.

When someone is diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas, the news usually comes as a relief. This attitude needs to be changed because both of these types of skin cancers are dangerous and should be taken seriously.

Treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers can include topical or surgical treatments. Many tropical therapies are very effective and can even prevent future skin cancers. Surgery is sometimes the best option to remove the cancerous tissue and stop damage quickly.

Non-melanoma skin cancers should be considered a serious condition. The best advice comes from the American Academy of Dermatology expert, Dr. Zwald: “The best medicine in fighting skin cancer is prevention, as sun protective behavior — such as using sunscreen and wearing sun-protective clothing, seeking shade, and avoiding tanning beds — has been proven to reduce the risk of all skin cancers, even in those patients with a history of prior skin cancer,”

Resource: www.aad.org

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