Non-melanoma skin cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in cells of the skin. Malignant means that it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Non melanoma skin cancer includes 2 main types: basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell skin cancer. They are named after the types of skin cells from which the cancers develop. It is possible for a non-melanoma skin cancer to be a mixture of both these types. Treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combine. Between 40 and 50 percent of people who live to age 65 will have either BCC or SCC at least once.
Many clinical trials are focused on new treatments, evaluating whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the current treatment. Patients decide to participate in clinical trials for many reasons. For some patients, a clinical trial is the best treatment option available. Because standard treatments are not perfect, patients are often willing to face the added uncertainty of a clinical trial in the hope of a better result. Treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is completely successful in approximately 90% of cases by
• Medicines put on the skin, such as topical fluorouracil (5-FU) and topical imiquimod.
• Laser surgery.