Risk of Skin Cancer After Basal Cell (BCC)

OncoLink
Last Modified: August 13, 2012

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Question

If someone has a basal cell skin cancer, are they at risk to get other skin cancer spots or a more serious cancer like melanoma?

Answer

Christopher J. Miller, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Christopher Miller, MD, Dermatologist & Moh's Surgeon at Penn Medicine responds:

Anyone who has had a skin cancer is at higher risk for another type of skin cancer. For example, people who have had a basal cell cancer or squmaous cell cancer at increased risk for melanoma. Even someone with actinic keratoses (a pre-cancer) is at increased risk for melanoma. Since most skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet light, you can consider having a skin cancer a marker for a history of increased sun exposure and increased risk for the 3 most common skin cancers: basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Sun Safety Webchat transcript.