Dr. Ellen Marmur answered:
Skin cancer has a high cure rate if it's caught early and treated correctly. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma have a five-year cure rate of 97 to 99 percent. This means that the recurrence rate after five years is extremely low. So there is no reason to panic if you have a small skin cancer that is diagnosed early. Because they stay localized in one area, it can take years for these kinds of cancers to spread. But if a lesion is not removed or treated, it is going to grow and it will spread. Metastatic basal cell carcinoma is rare but extremely devastating, and it can be lethal. If melanoma is caught early, it is 100 percent curable. If the tumor is slightly invasive but still contained to the top levels of the skin, there's a 95 percent five-year cure rate. Catching melanoma at an early stage is more common than ever before, thanks to improved awareness about sun damage and skin cancer. The public is more educated and much more aware of warning signs on their skin.
In patients who are high risk of melanoma or if a patient points out an irregular dark spot or lesion (an atypical nevus, or mole), doctors use their trained clinical eyes and the assistance of technology to take a closer look and better distinguish between a benign or dysplastic (malignant) nevus. These diagnostic tools are used to photograph and get a microscopic look at a pigmented area of skin that could turn out to be melanoma. They also help doctors gauge how large a lesion is and how deep it might be in the skin.Find out more about this book: Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous...Skin cancer has a high cure rate if it's caught early and treated correctly. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma have a five-year cure rate of 97 to 99 percent. This means that the recurrence rate after five years is extremely low. So... More