Last Modified: May 27, 2011
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
If I have non-melanoma skin cancer, will I get melanoma someday or can it turn into melanoma?
Christopher Miller, MD, Assistant Professor in Dermatology and Director of the Moh's Surgery Program at Penn Medicine, responds:
Non melanoma skin cancers (eg. basal cell and squamous cell cancers) are much more common than melanoma. 70% of all skin cancers are basal cells cancers, 20% are squamous cell cancers. Only about 10% of all skin cancers are melanoma. However, melanoma causes more deaths than all other skin cancers combined.
A history of basal and squamous cell cancers increases one's risk for melanoma. However, a basal or squamous cell cancer does not turn into a melanoma. That fact that someone has a BCC or SCC indicates that there is enough sun damage to place them at risk for melanoma.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series: Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention Webchat. View the entire transcript on Sun Safety.