Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are two variants of skin cancer commonly seen in the head and neck area. The most common etiology behind cutaneous malignancy is excessive exposure to UV rays. Hence individuals engaged in outdoor occupation and those living at higher altitudes have a great predilection for these cancers. Fair skin individuals, male genders, previous exposure to radiotherapy and phototherapy and a genetic predilection are other predisposing factors. Chronically immunocompromised patients, those with renal transplant also have increased tendency to develop these lesions.
Cutaneous malignancies are amenable for visual inspection, which explains an early diagnosis. The extent of these cancers can be determined by physical examination, but deeply invasive or recurrent lesions may require a detailed radiological imaging.
Majority of the head and neck skin cancers are localised and can be readily cured with complete excision or with external beam radiation.