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Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers


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There are a variety of other conditions that may result in skin cancer. Most of these are easier to treat than melanoma and may include:

Basal cell skin cancer: This is the most common type of skin cancer, and overall, the most common type of cancer in humans. In fact, eight out of 10 skin cancers are classified as basal cell carcinomas. They are usually found in skin exposed to sunlight and rarely spread, but if left untreated, they can become locally destructive.

Squamous cell skin cancer: These cancers affect your face, ears, neck, lips, backs of the hands, or other sun-exposed areas. The cancers may appear in scars or chronic skin sores. Sometimes, it starts within actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous skin condition caused by too much exposure to the sun.

Kaposi sarcoma: Evolving from cells that line the lymph or blood vessels, this cancer is caused by an infection of the herpes virus 8. Usually, it appears on the skin as tumors or inside the mouth, but tumors may develop in other parts of the body. The most common type seen in the U.S. is the AIDS-related Kaposi syndrome. These tumors are treated as part of the HIV/AIDS management.

Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome: In this non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, malignant immune T-cells migrate to the skin causing lesions. This cutaneous lymphoma is often managed topically by the lymphoma team. Sarcoma may also affect a person's eye as a primary ocular cancer.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. The National Cancer Institute has recognized Sylvester for its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

World class skin cancer surveillance and detection clinic. Earlier detection options and more accurate diagnoses allow us to identify skin cancer when it is most treatable.

Multidisciplinary care teams. You’ll have your cancer assessed and treated by a full team of skin cancer professionals. It adds up to personalized care focused on providing you with an optimal quality of life.

Immunotherapy clinical trials. You’ll have access to the most advanced treatment options in South Florida.

Treating more skin cancers than other providers in our region. Because we see so many patients with skin cancers, we have the experience needed to provide better outcomes with fewer potential complications.

Questions? We're here to help.

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  • Surgical Procedures

    We will determine the most appropriate surgical procedure for your cancer and will replace skin damaged during cancer removal by using advanced techniques. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, post-surgery radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be recommended.

    • Electrodesiccation and Curettage: Here, the tumor is removed from the skin with a sharp, spoon-shaped tool, called a curette. Then, a specialist uses a thin electrode to treat the area with an electric current to inhibit bleeding and destroy any remaining cancer cells.

    • Simple Excision: The tumor is precisely cut from the skin along with some of the normal skin around it.

    • Mohs Micrographic Surgery: This precise cosmetic method removes the tumor from the skin in thin layers. The tumor pieces are viewed through a microscope to check for cancer cells, completing the process in just one office visit with a nearly 100 percent cure rate. It is useful in treating large tumors, tumors in certain critical locations, including on or near the forehead, scalp, fingers, nose, eyes, ears, or genital area, and those that have returned after other treatments.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy is a common treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer. It is especially useful for tumors that are large or on areas of the body that are difficult to treat. Radiation therapy is usually delivered as a short daily dose over four to six weeks.

    • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): SBRT gives radiation therapy from many different positions around the tumor. The cancer receives a high and directed dose of radiation, but special care is taken to limit exposure to the healthy surrounding tissue.

    • RapidArc® Intensity Modulated External Radiation Therapy (IMRT): This technique shortens treatment times to one-half to one-eighth that of conventional radiation therapy, resulting in better tumor targeting and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

  • Chemotherapy

    Topical chemotherapy for non-melanoma skin cancer is usually applied on the skin in the form of a cream or lotion. The application of chemotherapy depends on the condition being treated. Retinoids (drugs related to vitamin A) are sometimes used to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.

  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

    This cancer treatment uses a light-activated drug injected into a vein. The drug collects in cancer cells, and laser light is then shined onto the skin to activate its cancer-killing effect. PDT causes little damage to healthy tissue.

  • Immunotherapy

    Also called biologic therapy, these drugs use your immune system to fight cancer. Topical imiquimod therapy (a cream applied to the skin) may be used to treat some small basal cell carcinomas.


In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, procedures for diagnosing basal and squamous cell skin cancers include:

  • Skin Examination

    We will look and feel for any bumps or spots that look abnormal in color, size, shape, or texture. Any suspicious areas can have a tissue sample removed to be tested for cancer.

  • Skin Biopsy

    All or part of the abnormal-looking growth is removed and examined by a pathologist, known as a cellular expert, to check for signs of cancer. Types of skin biopsies include:

    • Punch Biopsy: A circle of tissue is removed from the abnormal-looking growth.

    • Incisional Biopsy: A doctor uses a scalpel to extract part of the growth.

    • Excisional Biopsy: The entire growth is removed, using a scalpel.

  • Dermoscopy

    Dermoscopy is an examination of the skin using a handheld magnifying device (skin surface microscopy). We evaluate pigmented (colored) lesions and identify any cancerous growths that are not just moles or non-cancerous marks.

  • Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM)

    This additional high magnification testing helps identify lesions not totally defined by dermoscopy.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.