The skin is the body’s largest organ. It covers your whole body and protects it from injury, infection and ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. The skin helps control your body temperature and gets rid of waste materials through the sweat glands. It also makes vitamin D and stores water and fat. 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. NMSC is much more common, with more than 99,500 cases recorded in the UK in 2010; registration of the disease is known to be incomplete, however. The vast majority of NMSC cases are detected early and are not life-threatening. In the UK in 2011, there were around 590 deaths from NMSC.
Surgery is the main treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer. This involves removing the cancerous tumour and some of the surrounding skin.Other treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer include cryotherapy, creams, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a treatment known as photodynamic therapy (PDT). Patients participate in clinical trials. 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. Other patients volunteer for clinical trials because they know that these studies are the only way to make progress in treating skin cancer. Even if they do not benefit directly from the clinical trial, their participation may benefit future patients with skin cancer.