Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a common skin cancer, characterized by abnormal, accelerated growth of squamous cells. About 700,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States. It is the second most common skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs when DNA damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation or other damaging agents trigger abnormal changes in the squamous cells..
Squamous cells are found throughout the body. These cells line organs, such as throat, thyroid, and lungs. It can also be found in our skin. A common type of skin cancer that can develop from a pre-cancerous skin growth called actinic keratosis.
Although SCC is most common in people that have fair skin, people of all color can get it.
SCC can present as scaly red patches ,open sores, rough, thickened or wart-like skin or raised growths with a central depression. It can also occur in other parts of the body, including the genitalia.
Risk factors for squamous carcinoma include having fair skin, sun exposure, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation (as in tanning beds). In addition, exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (such as Arsenic, tar, insecticides) and history of tobacco use can increase your risk. If you have been diagnosed with a precancerous skin lesion called an Actinic Keratosis, you are more likely to develop SCC.
When Should I See A Dermatologist?
Contact the experts at Bay Dermatology for for an evaluation if you have a:
- Bump or a scaly red patch
- Lump that feels rough
- Crusty sore that oozes
- Sore that bleeds easily or wont heal
What Are Treatments for Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Some of the Treatments for SCC Include:
- Excision — This is a surgical treatment where the tumor is removed and cut out with some normal-looking skin around the tumor. Your dermatologist will stitch up the area after the excision. This is an outpatient procedure and a common way to treat SCC. The removed skin is also sent out to the laboratory to ensure that the skin is free of cancer.
- Curettage and Desiccation — This in-office treatment involves using a small metal instrument (called a curette) to scrape out the tumor along with an application of an electric current into the tissue to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery — This specialized surgical treatment is indicated for large tumors and for SCC in certain anatomic locations. Mohs Surgery combines removal of cancerous tissue with microscopic review while the surgery takes place. By mapping the diseased tissue layer by layer, less healthy skin is damaged when removing the tumor. It has the highest cure rate for SCC. Your dermatologist will let you know if Mohs surgery is recommended.
- Prescription Medicated Creams — These creams can be applied at home. They stimulate the body’s natural immune system over the course of weeks. The most common medications are imiquimod or 5-fluorouracil.
- Cryosurgery — Some squamous cell carcinomas respond to cryosurgery, where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the tumor.
- Radiation Therapy — Radiation therapy is used for difficult-to-treat tumors, either because of their location, severity, or persistence. If radiation therapy is a treatment option, you will receive a referral to a radiation oncologist.
Our board certified dermatologists and providers here at Bay Dermatology will discuss with you your treatment options and will recommend a treatment that is right for you.
What is the Outcome if I Receive Treatment for a Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
With early diagnosis and treatment, most SCC can be cured. If left untreated, SCC can grow deep and SCC can spread to other parts of the body.
The Experts at Bay Dermatology
Contact the experts at Bay Dermatology. Voted by the people of Tampa Bay as the number one dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons we are here to find the perfect treatment for you. We look forward to bringing out your confidence and the natural beautify of your skin.