Non-melanoma Skin Cancer: Primary Non-surgical Therapies and Prevention Strategies

  • Malcolm A. Buchanan
  • Brett Levin
  • Michael Veness
Part of the Head and Neck Cancer Clinics book series (HNCC)


Patients with non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) may be managed non-surgically on the basis of relevant tumour and patient factors. This chapter presents non-surgical treatment options for the two most common NMSCs—basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The management of Merkel cell carcinoma (often non-surgically) is discussed in Chap.  6. Excision, although considered the gold standard, is not always possible or considered the best option (Box 4.1). Numerous topical (e.g. 5-fluorouracil [5-FU], imiquimod) and intralesional (e.g. methotrexate, interferon) [1] options, as well as other modalities are widely available, often with ill-defined criteria for using them. Additionally, because the evidence to support these treatments is predominantly low-level with long-term follow-up (≤5 years) lacking, clinicians need to consider various issues before using any recommendation.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma Basal Cell Carcinoma Merkel Cell Carcinoma Xeroderma Pigmentosum Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma 


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Copyright information

© Faruque Riffat, Carsten E. Palme, Michael Veness, Rehan Kazi, Raghav C. Dwivedi 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm A. Buchanan
    • 1
  • Brett Levin
    • 2
  • Michael Veness
    • 3
  1. 1.Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryGlasgow Royal InfirmaryGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryWestmead HospitalSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Radiation Oncology, Westmead HospitalUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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