Thomas Discusses Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers


Valencia D. Thomas, MD, MHCM, discusses the current landscape for patients with non-melanoma skin cancers.

Valencia D. Thomas, MD, MHCM, professor in the Department of Dermatology, Division of Internal Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the current landscape for patients with non-melanoma skin cancers.

According to Thomas, Basal cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma are some of the most common types of non-melanoma skin cancers, but research has focused most of its efforts on squamous cell carcinoma as it results in high morbidity rates.


0:08 | Non-melanoma skin cancers comprise a very large and heterogeneous group of tumors. The non-melanoma skin cancers include carcinomas that arise from the epidermis, sarcomas that arise from the soft tissue in the dermis, and also, a miscellaneous group where we have some unclassified tumors, such as extramammary Paget disease where we really have no idea where they're really coming from, but that manifests in the skin.

0:39 | The non-melanoma skin cancers include most commonly Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas, which will affect millions of people combined this year. We also spend a lot of time really focusing on the management of squamous cell carcinoma, which, although not as common as Basal cell carcinomas, will result in great morbidity and mortality over the coming year. Additionally, we're spending a lot of time in our session looking at Merkel cell carcinoma, which is a neuro endocrine tumor of the skin, not in any way related to Basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, that are associated with UV exposure and other types of environmental exposures. Rather, this tumor arises largely in association with a viral infection, and the non-melanoma skin cancer patient may fall into the category of “other.” The other category is a wide and heterogeneous group of individuals.

1:48 | Essentially, the skin has multiple cell lineages in it, and every lineage can have a certain malignant degeneration. This is a very large topic and the landscape is actually good for most patients. Most patients will have a wonderful outcome for the standard non-melanoma skin cancers, and when detected early, an intervention is initiated early.

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