Non-melanoma skin cancer treatment at GenesisCare
We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists who are experts in this type of cancer. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient needing treatment - without delay.
Non-melanoma skin cancers, often shortened to NMSC, are a group of cancers that usually develop in the uppermost layer of the skin called the epidermis. According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 150,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the UK each year, but early diagnosis and treatment can mean an increased chance of positive results. These cancers are usually named after the type of skin cells the condition develops in; the two most common types are:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – 75% of all NMSCs are BCCs
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – around 20% of skin cancers are SCCs
Although there are several types of NMSCs, it’s possible to have a mixture at the same time. Other less common non-melanoma skin cancers include Merkel cell carcinoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, sebaceous gland cancer and T-cell lymphoma of the skin.
Another common type of skin cancer in the UK is melanoma, which develops from skin cells called melanocytes and moles. Find out more about melanoma.
We’re the UK’s leading independent specialist cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best, personalised care plan for your diagnosis.
We offer you first-class treatments managed by a team of specialists in non-melanoma skin cancer. To help ensure the best outcomes are achieved for you, we combine your treatment with personalised integrative cancer care which is proven to improve outcomes. This includes a programme of exercise medicine and access to a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity.
It is our commitment to offer world-class cancer care to all of our patients to achieve the best outcomes possible.
How is non-melanoma skin cancer treated?
There are a number of treatment options available for non-melanoma skin cancer, such as:
- Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells
- Surgery – removal of the part of the skin which contains the cancer
- Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs that destroy the cancerous cells, including topical chemotherapies (creams or ointments)
Other treatments available at GenesisCare or our partner hospitals include:
- Photodynamic therapy – medicine that destroys abnormal cells by using a light-sensitive drug and a light source
- Curettage – a procedure where the cancer cells are removed from the affected skin area using a spoon-shaped instrument
- Cryotherapy – cancer cells are destroyed using extreme cold that is focused on the affected skin area
Diagnosing non-melanoma skin cancer
At GenesisCare we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are world-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by other conditions and not always non-melanoma skin cancer. But, whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay.
If you’re concerned about non-melanoma skin cancer symptoms, we offer specialist tests and diagnostics in our centres. Here you’ll see one of our expert consultants who specialise in cancers affecting the skin. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as a biopsy.
Non-melanoma skin cancer symptoms
Non-melanoma skin cancers can vary in appearance and cause different symptoms. Common signs of NMSC include a sore or lumpy area of skin that:
- Doesn’t heal within four weeks
- Looks unusual – for example, it could be red, white, black, brown or discoloured
- Itches, bleeds, hurts, crusts or scabs
Basal cell carcinomas are more likely to develop on areas of the body that are regularly exposed to sunlight, such as the head, neck and face.
Squamous cell carcinomas are usually found on skin that has been damaged by sun exposure. In people with paler skin, SCCs are often found around the face, neck, arms, hands and lower legs. If you have darker skin, you’re more likely to find SCCs around areas that have less sun exposure, including the lower legs, torso and genitals.
If you’re concerned about non-melanoma skin cancer, you should talk to your GP, and they can refer you to a dermatologist if they think it’s needed, or you can book directly with us.
Surgery is the most common treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer and forms part of an overall treatment and care plan.
Our consultants include expert dermatologists and surgeons who work in local and nationally renowned hospitals. They work together with other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. We can provide some procedures at selected GenesisCare centres or this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.
There are different surgical procedures for non-melanoma skin cancer, your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate technique depending on the type, size, depth and location of your cancer.
Surgery side effects
No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways your treatment plan and integrative care can help manage or minimise these.
Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. You may have radiotherapy if your non-melanoma skin cancer covers a large area or is in an area of the body that is difficult to operate on. Radiotherapy may also be preferred in cases where the appearance of the skin after surgery is likely to be poor, or your cancer is recurrent or has a high risk of recurrence.
At GenesisCare, we’re the leading independent provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities that specialise in advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.
Your treatment will be decided by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), including oncologists and radiotherapists, who work together to ensure that you receive the best possible care.
Radiotherapy techniques for non-melanoma skin cancer
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to areas of the skin surrounding the non-melanoma skin cancer. At GenesisCare, we offer VMAT wherever possible because it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy.
For more specific information about VMAT radiotherapy for skin cancerisation.
We also offer palliative VMAT radiotherapy for those living with advanced or metastatic non-melanoma skin cancer, where it has spread elsewhere in the body, to improve pain and increase mobility. It is important to know that it’s very rare for non-melanoma to develop into advanced or metastatic non-melanoma skin cancer. We understand that fast access to palliative care is paramount and can usually provide treatment within 48 hours of a planning imaging scan.
Side effects of radiotherapy
No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help to manage or minimise these.
You can read more detail about our radiotherapy treatments below. If you’d like to find out more about your treatment options, contact us today for advice or to book an appointment.
At GenesisCare, we offer drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage non-melanoma skin cancer, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and can answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.
There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible.
Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer.
Chemotherapy for non-melanoma skin cancer
Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Usually, you’ll have a topical cream chemotherapy. This is if you have superficial skin cancer which is only in the top layer, so you can apply the chemotherapy directly to the skin.
If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic non-melanoma skin cancer. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced non-melanoma skin cancer, to reduce the size and progress of your cancer and ease any symptoms.
Drug treatment side effects
No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with how your treatment plan and integrative care can help to manage or minimise these.
At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. If your treatment requires integrative care, these therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.
Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing your quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres.
We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all non-melanoma skin cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres, either face to face or remotely by phone or videoconferencing.
Why choose us?
Why choose GenesisCare?
GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for non-melanoma skin cancer treatment you’ll be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They’ll design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. We also support every patient through their cancer journey and have transformative therapies available such as exercise medicine and psychological support.
Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here.
We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.
GenesisCare works with many leading and experienced cancer doctors who share our commitment to providing excellent patient care
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