When people talk about non-melanoma skin cancer, they mean either squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. It usually develops on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun a lot and easy to see. Basal cell carcinoma tends to grow slowly and stay in one place. But if it’s only treated after a long time, or not treated at all, it might enter deeper layers of tissue. This may end up damaging and deforming the face, bones, spinal cord or brain, making treatment more difficult.
Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma grows in the area where it first develops, and destroys tissue around it. It’s more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma. If left untreated, the cancer might spread to other parts of the body, causing metastatic tumors to arise in other organs. But squamous cell carcinoma is usually detected before that happens.
The treatment options will depend on many factors. These include the type of tumor, how big and aggressive it is, whether it has spread to other parts of the body and, if so, where.