GentleCure Blog

Can Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Kill You?

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If you’re facing a skin cancer diagnosis, you undoubtedly have many troubling questions running through your mind, including “Can skin cancer kill you?” Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer, with over 3 million people in the United States diagnosed each year. Because it is the most common, it is highly treatable and often curable, with treatment options ranging from X-ray energy, surgery, and more. Common skin cancer is rarely fatal, especially when caught early and paired with effective treatment. 

What is Skin Cancer? 

The most common types of skin cancer are: 

Knowing the differences between basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer can help you understand your treatment options, but both see extremely high success rates. 

Can You Die From Skin Cancer? 

It’s normal to be upset after receiving a cancer diagnosis, but statistics show that while you can die from skin cancer, it is highly unlikely. According to, common skin cancer deaths have been declining over the past several years. Of the 5.4 million people diagnosed with skin cancer every year, only 2,000 pass from basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer, with the five-year survival rate for basal cell near 99%. 

The low-fatality rate for common skin cancer is due to: 

  • Slow growth: Most common skin cancers progress at a very slow rate, and rarely spread to other areas of the body. 
  • Easy detection: Because these cancers are on the top-most layers of the skin, they are more easily found during regular screenings. 
  • Low relapse risk: After the proper treatment, it is less likely these skin cancers will reappear once eradicated. 
  • Effective treatment options: People with skin cancer benefit from many treatment innovations, including surgery, topical therapies, and X-ray energy therapies such as Image-Guided SRT. 

What Factors Impact Skin Cancer Survival?

There are many factors that impact a person with skin cancer’s survival rate, including:

  • General health history: Your age, gender, race, and pre-existing conditions could all have an effect on your cancer’s progression. 
  • Where the cancer is located: Some areas may be more difficult for you to detect changes in your skin’s appearance, such as your backside. Receiving yearly dermatological examinations is recommended. 
  • The size and grade of the cancer: Early detection plays a big role in how far and deep the cancer is able to spread. 
  • How the cancer responds to treatment: With many treatment options available, it’s important to educate yourself on what will work best for your circumstances. Talk to your doctor for recommendations. 

Find Surgery-Free Skin Cancer Treatments with GentleCure

Can skin cancer kill you? Your fatality risk is extremely low, especially with early detection. If you’ve received a skin cancer diagnosis and are looking for surgery-free treatment options, call 855-954-2010 to speak with our skin cancer specialists about Image-Guided Superficial Radiotherapy, or Image-Guided SRT. This safe, effective treatment can be used to treat your symptoms without cutting or surgical scarring. Learn more about how it works.