Skin cancer can be deadly, but the likelihood of this depends on several factors, such as the type of skin cancer, how early it is detected, and the person’s overall health.
While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are not usually life threatening, melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanoma has a high potential to spread to other parts of the body.
This article looks at the different types of skin cancer, survival rates, and more.
The outlook for a person with skin cancer depends on several factors, including the type of skin cancer, its stage at diagnosis, and the person’s overall health.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the
BCC and SCC are typically curable when diagnosed and treated early. If treatment is not started early and the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it can become more difficult to treat.
Melanoma is a less common but
The outlook for a person with melanoma depends on the cancer’s stage at diagnosis.
When melanoma is diagnosed early, it is usually treatable. The 5-year relative survival rate for localized melanoma, or melanoma that has not spread, is around
A 5-year relative survival rate is a
The relative survival rate compares people with the same stage and type of cancer to people in the overall population. For example, a person with localized melanoma is, on average, around 99% as likely as those without that cancer to live for at least 5 years after diagnosis.
However, if melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, a person’s outlook is more serious, and their survival rate is lower.
Learn more about skin cancer and early detection:
Five-year relative survival rates are statistical estimates. They are based on large groups of people and do not necessarily reflect an individual’s outcome.
Many factors, such as the stage of the cancer, its response to treatment, and the person’s overall health, can affect their outlook. Also, survival rates constantly evolve as new treatments and technologies become available.
Less data is available for nonmelanoma skin cancers, such as BCC and SCC.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the 5-year relative survival rate for BCC is 100%. This means people with BCC are, on average, equally likely as someone without BCC to survive the following 5 years.
The Canadian Cancer Society states that the 5-year relative survival for SCC is 95%.
Because melanoma is often more aggressive than BCC or SCC, more stage-specific data is available.
According to the
|SEER stage||5-year relative survival rate|
|All SEER stages combined||93.7%|
Surgery is often the first-line treatment for skin cancer. It involves removing the cancerous tissue and some of the surrounding healthy tissue. In many cases, surgery is enough to cure the cancer.
- radiation therapy
- targeted therapy
- laser surgery
Doctors may use these treatments alone or in combination with surgery.
The success of treatment for skin cancer depends on many factors, such as the type and stage of cancer, the location of the cancer, and the person’s overall health.
Read on to learn the answers to some commonly asked questions about the outlook for people with skin cancer.
How likely is skin cancer fatal?
Most cases of skin cancer are curable if the cancer is treated before it can spread.
Melanoma in more advanced stages, however, can be deadly. A person’s chances of fully recovering are increased the earlier doctors identify and remove the melanoma.
How fast does skin cancer spread?
BCC and SCC are usually slow growing and
Conversely, melanoma can be more aggressive and spread quickly to other body parts, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, or brain.
If doctors identify melanoma early, before it has spread, the chances of successful treatment are much higher.
Skin cancer has the potential to be fatal. However, the chance of this depends on many variables, including the type of skin cancer, the stage at which it is discovered, and the person’s general health.
BCC and SCC are not usually life threatening, but they can be if they spread to other body parts.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it has a high potential to spread to other parts of the body. Early detection and treatment are crucial for improving the chances of successful treatment and survival.