What Do You Need to Know About Advanced Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

What Do You Need to Know About Advanced Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?

What Do You Need to Know About Advanced Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What information is important for you and your loved ones to know after an advanced non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis? This animated video reviews the types of advanced non-melanoma skin cancer, current treatment options, and important advice for engaging in your care.

What do you need to know if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with advanced non-melanoma skin cancer? 

Non-melanoma skin cancer describes skin cancers that are not classified as “melanoma.” The main types of non-melanoma skin cancer include: 

  • Basal cell carcinoma 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma 
  • And Merkel cell carcinoma 

When a non-melanoma skin cancer is large and deeply invasive, it is considered advanced. In these cases, the cancer is managed by a multidisciplinary team that could include a dermatologist and surgical, radiation, and medical oncologists.  

Treatment recommendations are based on a variety of factors, including: 

  • The location and size of the cancer. 
  • Test results, including genetic test results. 
  • Potential treatment side effects. 
  • And the patient’s overall health and personal preferences. 

If the cancer cannot be treated by surgery alone, treatment options may include: 

  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Or a clinical trial 

Palliative care may be used in combination with these approaches to help reduce symptoms and to manage treatment side effects. 

Now that you understand more about advanced non-melanoma skin cancer, how can you take an active role in your care?  

  • First, continue to educate yourself about your condition. Ask your healthcare team to recommend credible resources for information.
  • Next, understand the goals of treatment and share your personal preferences with your doctor.
  • Consider a second opinion with a specialist following a diagnosis to confirm your treatment approach.
  • And write down your questions before and during your appointments. Visit powerfulpatients.org/skin to access office visit planners to help you organize your thoughts. Bring loved ones to your appointments to help you recall information and to keep track of important details.
  • Ask your doctor whether a clinical trial might be right for you.
  • Finally, remember that you have a voice in your care. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and to share your concerns. You are your own best advocate.

To learn more about advanced non-melanoma skin cancer and to access tools for self-advocacy, visit powerfulpatients.org/skin.