Management of non-melanoma skin cancer

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2013 Aug;29(3):182-94. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2013.06.004.


Objectives: To review types of, and treatment for, non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC): basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and less common NMSC.

Data sources: Standards of care, dermatology texts, peer-reviewed journals.

Conclusion: BCC grows slowly and rarely metastasizes; some BCC subtypes can be aggressive and destructive. Early treatment of SCC is usually successful; untreated SCC will penetrate underlying tissue, invade lymph nodes, and metastasize. Treatment options for NMSC are based on patient and tumor characteristics, which determine whether a lesion is low or high risk for cancer recurrence after treatment.

Implications for nursing practice: Nurses are integral for educating patients about measures to prevent new skin cancers and for monitoring for recurrence of NMSC.

Keywords: Basal cell cancer; Mohs micrographic surgery; squamous cell carcinomas; transplant dermatology; treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*