Non-melanoma skin cancer

You are here: 

If non-melanoma skin cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the skin to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis. But most non-melanoma skin cancers do not spread to other parts of the body.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), if left untreated, can grow into nearby skin, cartilage, bone and other tissues. In very rare cases, it may spread to nearby lymph nodes, the lungs and bone that is farther from where the cancer started.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body, but it is more likely than BCC to spread. If left untreated, SCC can grow deeper into the skin. Sometimes it can spread to nearby lymph nodes. In rare cases, it can spread to bone, the lungs or other organs.

Stories

Stephanie Hermsen Thanks to the incredible progress in retinoblastoma research made possible by Canadian Cancer Society funding, my son won’t have to go through what I did.

Read Stephanie's story

Investing to reduce cancer burden

Icon - piggy bank

Last year CCS funded $40 million in cancer research, thanks to our donors. Discover how you can help reduce the burden of cancer.

Learn more