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Non-melanoma skin cancer

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Supportive care for non-melanoma skin cancer

Supportive careSupportive careTreatment given to improve the quality of life of people who have a serious illness (such as cancer). helps people meet the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual challenges of non-melanoma skin cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. There are many programs and services available to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer and their loved ones, especially after treatment has ended.


Recovering from non-melanoma skin cancer and adjusting to life after treatment is different for each person, depending on the extent of the disease, the type of treatment and many other factors. The end of cancer treatment may bring mixed emotions. Even though treatment has ended, there may be other issues to deal with, such as coping with long-term side effects. A person who has been treated for non-melanoma skin cancer may have the following concerns.

Self-esteem and body image

How a person feels about or sees themselves is called self-esteem. Body image is a person’s perception of their own body. Non-melanoma skin cancer and its treatments can affect a person’s self-esteem and body image, especially when the skin cancer occurs on the face. Often this is because cancer or cancer treatments may result in body changes, such as:

  • scars
  • hair loss
  • skin changes

Some of these changes can be temporary, others will last for a long time and some will be permanent.

For many people, body image and their perception of how others see them is closely linked to self-esteem. It may be a real concern for them and can cause considerable distress. They may be afraid to go out; afraid others will reject them and feel angry or upset.

The majority of wounds caused by treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer will heal with little scarring. If needed, plastic or reconstructive surgery, makeup or other techniques can restore a person’s appearance. With help and time, people can adjust to the changes in their appearance.


People who have been treated for non-melanoma skin cancer may have concerns about the cancer coming back. Early detection is important because both recurrent and second primary non-melanoma skin cancers are considered curable in the early stages.


See a list of questions to ask your doctor about supportive care after treatment.


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