Recent Blog Articles

Cancer

Do all skin cancers have to be removed?

March 1, 2019

Ask the doctor

l0319c16207258549263
 Image: © AndreyPopov/Getty Images

Q. My doctor says I have a small skin cancer on my scalp, but it's not melanoma. Do I really need to have it removed?

A. It's true that melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, because it can spread throughout the body. You definitely need to have any melanoma removed, to try to excise it before it spreads. Two other types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are more common than melanoma. It sounds like you have one of those. They spread only rarely, but they do grow larger. Not only is this disfiguring, but delay in removing them makes it harder to remove them with only a minimal scar. And cancers on the scalp, when they become large, can be particularly hard to remove.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.