Our Approach To Basal & Squamous Cell Skin Cancers in Adults

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What Sets Us Apart

Basal and squamous cell cancers, also sometimes referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancers, are named for the type of skin cells in which they develop. Basal cells are found at the base of the top layer of skin. They continually divide and rise to the skin’s surface. As they rise, they flatten and become squamous cells, which form a thick layer of skin above the basal cells. The squamous cells produce a protein called keratin, which gives the skin its structure and strength. Melanoma, a potentially more serious type of skin cancer, develops from melanocytes, the cells that produce skin-darkening pigments.


At NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, we personalize the care of every patient.More About Perlmutter Cancer Center

CLINICAL TRIALS and Research Studies

Our teams of physicians and scientists work together across multiple disciplines to bring our patients the most innovative clinical trials.Find a Clinical Trial

Physicians at NYU Langone’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center and the Skin and Cancer Unit established one of the first treatment programs in the New York City area for basal and squamous cell cancers. Our dermatologists’ expertise in identifying and removing precancerous growths helps to prevent many of these skin cancers from developing. 

When cancer is diagnosed, our medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists work together, as necessary, to provide the most effective treatment. Our reconstructive surgeons and rehabilitative physicians may also play an important role in your care.

Treatment at NYU Langone

NYU Langone doctors treat precancerous skin changes with topical medications; cryotherapy, in which skin cells are frozen; or photodynamic therapy, in which a laser destroys a lesion. They also use some topical medications for early forms of skin cancer. Surgery, medications, and radiation therapy are options for more advanced basal and squamous cell cancers.