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Survival

The cure rates for non melanoma skin cancers are very high.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

It might help to talk about things. You can talk to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Skin cancer statistics

There are no UK statistics available for survival of people with non melanoma skin cancer. But the outlook is generally very good.

Basal cell skin cancer

Doctors can almost always cure basal cell skin cancers. It is extremely rare for basal cell cancer to spread to another area of the body. So people almost never die from this type of cancer.

In a small number of people the cancer can come back in the skin and they need further treatment.

Squamous cell skin cancer

Doctors can cure most people with squamous cell skin cancer.

A small number of people might have squamous cell cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. This may still be cured.

What affects your outlook

Your outcome depends on:

  • the size
  • how deep it is
  • where it's growing on the body
  • how fast it's growing
  • the type of skin cancer it is

If your immune system is weakened, due to other medical reasons, there is a slightly higher risk of it coming back.

Your doctor is the best person for you to talk to about your personal prognosis.

Last reviewed: 
17 Sep 2019
  • Non melanoma skin cancer statistics
    Cancer Research UK
    Accessed September 2019

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th edition)
    VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Wolters Kluwer, 2018

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Blackwell, 2015

  • AJCC Cancer Staging Manuel (8th Edition)
    American Joint Committee on Cancer
    Springer, 2017

  • Non Melanoma Skin Cancer Pathogenesis Overview
    D Didona and others
    Biomedicines, 2018. Volume 6, Issue 1, Page 6

  • The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. Please contact patientinformation@cancer.org.uk with details of the particular issue you are interested in if you need additional references for this information. 

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