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

Dr Annette McWilliams Dr Annette McWilliams helps sniff out lung cancer with an electronic nose

Read more

Access to services in your community

Illustration of houses side-by-side

The Canadian Cancer Society’s Community Services Locator helps cancer patients and their families find the services and programs they need in their community.

Learn more