Intended for healthcare professionals

A non-surgical approach to non-melanoma skin cancer – part 1

Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most common form of skin cancer in the UK, with 99,549 cases registered in 2010 alone. Of these cases, 56% were male and 44% were female, giving a 13:10 male-to-female ratio. The true incidence of NMSC in the UK remains unknown because robust registry data are not available and many NMSCs treated in both the public and private sectors are not recorded. It is estimated that 30–50% of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and around 30% of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are unrecorded. Although NMSC causes little mortality, it can cause significant morbidity if either detection or treatment are delayed. Therefore, both timely recognition and appropriate management of NMSC are important to prevent disfigurement and preserve function. This should also decrease the associated financial burden on the NHS. In this first part of a two-part article, we give an introduction to NMSC, outlining primary and secondary prevention and describing some emerging therapies for the most common forms of NMSC. In the second part, we will examine in more detail the emerging non-surgical therapies for actinic keratosis (AK), BCC and SCC.
Dermatology in practice 2014; 20(1): 10–13
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