Once I’ve Had a Skin Cancer, Can I Ever Get Another One?
Two common skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Both of these have a variety of treatment options available for patients, as well as a low recurrence rate once they’ve been treated, but once you’ve had one instance of skin cancer, does that mean you’re more at risk for a recurrence? What about another form of skin cancer?
“Mohs surgery is one of the most common and most well-known treatments for skin cancer and its cure rates have been reported as the highest at 96-99 percent,” shares Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon in Austin, Texas. “Even so, it’s not 100 percent!” While much more rare than with other forms of treatment such as radiation or electrodessication and curettage that have lower cure rates, it is possible for cancers to recur.
Many things that affect the cure rate after treatment, such as surgical margin, presence of scar tissue, previous treatment and depth of invasion. Imiquimod for example, a topical cream designed for the treatment of superficial skin cancer, showed an estimated 79 percent cure rate and studies suggest that the risk of recurrence after three months is very low.
“Those who have had one occurrence of skin cancer are around 30-40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with another form of skin cancer when compared to those who have never had skin cancer,” Dr. Mamelak explains. While recurrence rates are low for these treatments, monthly self-checks and follow-up appointments are important in order to catch any new potential issues as soon as possible.