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What Are The Ways To Prevent Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer & Does It Reoccur?

Non-melanoma skin cancer is a common type of skin cancer, usually developing in sun-exposed areas. Its causes are over-exposure to the UV rays, weak immune system, smoking, immunosuppressant medicines, etc. It usually affects older adults who are above the age of 55 years. It is very rare in children. It develops more commonly in men than in women. It is a less severe type of skin cancer than melanoma. It grows as a lump or patch on the sun-exposed areas. It can be diagnosed by physical examination and biopsy. It cannot be prevented entirely. There are constant changes in reappearances of this cancer.

What Are The Ways To Prevent Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?

What Are The Ways To Prevent Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?

Non-melanoma cancer cannot be prevented in all cases. But if risk factors are controlled or modified with lifestyle modification, then its chances can be reduced. (1) It can be prevented by following ways-

  • It can be prevented if overexposure to UV light is avoided. (1)
  • The use of high-factor sunscreen during the daytime can protect the skin from sunburn. (1)
  • The amount of time spent in the sun during the hottest period of the day is limited to remain protected from sun exposure. (1)
  • Avoidance of sunbeds and sunlamps can also help. (1)
  • Regular check-up of skin for signs of cancer can help to prevent risk factors. (1)
  • For squamous cell carcinoma, the adoption of a healthy lifestyle is the best option to prevent cancerous growth. (2)
  • Smoking should be ceased entirely. (2)
  • Alcohol intake should be limited. It is advised to take them in a moderate amount. (2)
  • If immunosuppressant medication is continuing for any disease, it is advisable to meet your physician regularly to avoid any growth in the skin. (2)

Does Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Reoccur?

If a patient has a past history of non-melanoma cancer, then there is a possibility of the return of this condition. Its chances increase if the size of the previous cancer is massive and of high grade. Sometimes, the risk of developing another cancerous growth on the skin is also present, even though the patient is having one as the cancer cells often grow in multiple numbers. (1)

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the term given to the cancerous growth on the upper layers of the skin, especially on basal cells and squamous cells. It is more common and less severe than melanoma cancers. (2) It is of two common types-

Basal cell carcinoma- it grows as an abnormal lump or patch on the skin that does not disappear within a few weeks. It appears on the sun-exposed areas such as scalp, face, etc. It is a slow-growing tumor that takes a few months to one year to mark its presence. It is usually painless. It rarely spread to distant parts of the body. (2)

Squamous cell carcinoma- it commonly develops in the form of scales or crusts or lumps on the face, usually on or around the lips or ears. It may grow as a lump or wart that can easily ulcerate or bleed. It is painful and is larger than BCCs. It becomes so extensively that it may erode and ultimately damage the nose or ear. It is also metastatic that can spread to distant parts of the body. (2)


There is no definite way to prevent non-melanoma cancer. Moreover, every non-melanoma cancer cell cannot be avoided altogether. Avoidance of sun exposure in peak time, tanning booths, sunbeds, sunlamps, application of sunscreen, cessation of smoking, and others discussed above can assist in the prevention of this cancer. This cancer tends to reoccur if the patient has a previous history of this cancer, especially when it was larger.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 25, 2021

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