BCC and SCC have excellent outcomes, with cure rates approaching 98%. Recurrence of NMSC during a 5-year follow-up is around 30% to 50% and 70% to 80% of recurrence develops within the first 2 years after initial therapy. Therefore, it is crucial to advise patients to schedule routine follow-up visits with their dermatologist and educate them about the value of sun protection and total body skin self-examination. For patients at high risk for recurrence, they should be monitored every 1 to 3 months for the first year, every 2 to 4 months in the second year, every 4 to 6 months for years 3 to 5, then every 6 to 12 months annually for life. The follow-up recommendation for low-risk patients is every 3 to 6 months for 2 years, every 6 to 12 months for year 3, then annually for life.
Patients receiving topical agents such as fluorouracil or imiquimod should be educated to wash the treatment area with mild soap and water before applying the cream, use gloves to apply enough to cover the area with a 1-cm margin and wash their hands thoroughly after each application. They should avoid sun exposure and be counseled to monitor for side effects such as pain, itching, and inflammation. They should consult their dermatologist if the side effects are intolerable.
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