Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common type of skin cancer that tends to occur on chronically sun exposed areas. They can vary in appearance but most commonly appears as a scaly or crusted bump or nodule. SCC can spread to other parts of the body, however with early diagnosis and treatment, SCC is highly curable.
Did you know…
that squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer? Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form. According to one estimate, about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risk factors for developing cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma?
Your physical traits play a large role in your risk for SCC. Blonde or red hair, fair skin, and light eyes all increase your risk for developing SCC. Chronic sun-exposure, smoking, and tanning bed use are also risk factors. SCC can also arise within chronic wounds such as burn scars or skin ulcerations. A weakened immune system such as in organ transplant patients increases your risk as well.
How is a squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed?
Most squamous cell carcinomas are diagnosed through a routine skin check. The diagnosis is then confirmed with a skin biopsy. It is very important to keep all follow-ups with your dermatologist, particularly if you have a history of skin cancer or actinic keratoses.
When should I seek medical care?
Early diagnosis of SCCs is important to avoid extensive surgical procedures for removal, thus routine skin checks are recommended. Additionally, if you develop a new lesion that bleeds easily or does not heal, you should make an appointment with a dermatologist.
What are the treatment options?
Treatment options depend on the subtype of cancer, the location, and the depth of invasion. Some superficial lesions can be treated with curettage and electrodessication, or a topical cream. Most SCCs will require surgical excision. Rarely, radiation can also be used.