Is Skin Cancer Lethal?

Last Editorial Review: 9/28/2017

Ask the experts

I recently got skin biopsy results that show I have a couple nonmelanoma cancerous moles. What is the prognosis for skin cancer? Could I die from it?

Doctor's response

The prognosis for nonmelanoma skin cancer is generally excellent. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are highly curable. There are virtually no deaths from basal cell carcinoma and only rare deaths with squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers, mostly in immunosuppressed individuals. Depending on the method of treatment and the location and type of skin cancer, the likelihood of a recurrence of a previously treated skin cancer is as low as 1% to 2% for Mohs surgery and up to 10% to 15% for destruction by electrodessication and curettage.

Early detection of skin cancers can lead to better outcomes. Know your skin and if you have any moles or spots that are suspect, see a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. Awareness is key in identifying and treating skin cancers early.

Read our full medical article on skin cancer symptoms, signs, treatment, and prognosis.

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References
"Systemic treatment of advanced cutaneous squamous and basal cell carcinomas"
UpToDate.com
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