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Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers

Although nonmelanoma skin cancers are rarely fatal, they can spread and cause serious health problems.

About 1 million American will develop these skin cancers this year and about 1,900 will die.

The two primary types of nonmelanoma skin cancers are:

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Image of a nose with a small red spot on the tip.Basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer found in fair-skinned people. They are tumors that can occur on any skin region but usually occur as small fleshy bumps on the head and neck. This type of skin cancer does not grow quickly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. It can penetrate below the skin into bone and cause severe localized damage.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Image of an ear with a warty-brownish bump on the edge of the ear.Squamous cell carcinomas are the second most common type of skin cancer found in fair-skinned people. These tumors appear as nodules or as scaly, red patches. Sometimes this cancer develops into large masses. It can also spread to other parts of the body.

Warning Signs for Nonmelanoma Carcinomas

Image of someone's bottom lip with a big brown warty-looking bump.Successful treatment of these types of skin cancer depends on early detection so it is important to watch for warning signs. Tumors for basal cell carcinoma appear as slow growing, raised, translucent, pearly nodules. These nodules may form a crust, discharge pus, or bleed if left untreated. Squamous cell carcinomas usually appear as raised, red or pink scaly nodules, or wart-like growths that form pus in the center. These usually develop on the face, lips, mouth, hands, edges of the ears, and other exposed areas of the body.

Cure Rates for Nonmelanoma Carcinomas

The cure rate for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be as high as 95% if they are detected in their early stages and treated.


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