Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common cancer of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is a tumor that arises in the outer layer of the skin (the epithelium).
More than 250,000 new SCCs are diagnosed every year in the U.S. Middle-aged and elderly persons, especially those with fair complexions and frequent sun exposure, are most likely to be affected. If treated in a timely manner, it is uncommon for squamous cell carcinoma to spread to other areas of the body. Squamous cell carcinomas often arise from small sandpaper-like growths called solar or actinic keratoses.
HOW DO WE GET SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA?
Ultraviolet light exposure (through the sun or tanning parlors) greatly increases the chance of developing skin cancer. Persons with light skin who burn easily are at the highest risk, although anyone can get squamous cell carcinoma. With increasing age, the risk of developing skin cancers grows. Heavy sun exposure and severe sunburns as a child may especially increase the likelihood of skin cancer. Many less common skin conditions also predispose individuals to the development of SCCs including conditions such as organ transplantation, chronic skin ulcers, prior x-ray treatment, arsenic ingestion, and toxic exposure to tars and oils.
WHAT DOES SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA LOOK LIKE?
A squamous cell carcinoma generally appears as a crusted or scaly area of the skin, with a red inflamed base. Squamous cell carcinoma can present as a growing tumor, a non-healing ulcer, or just as a crust. Any worrisome skin lesions, especially those that are not healing, are growing, bleeding, or changing in appearance, should be evaluated by a dermatologist. A skin biopsy for microscopic examination is usually necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
WHERE DOES SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA APPEAR?
HOW SERIOUS IS SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA?
HOW IS SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA TREATED?
CAN SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA BE PREVENTED?
Ultraviolet light avoidance is the primary form of prevention and is important for all ages. Outdoor activity should be avoided between late morning and early afternoon, tanning parlors should be shunned, and wide brimmed hats should be worn along with other protective clothing. Sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher and UVA block should be applied regularly even for a brief exposure to sunlight.
Serving Martin, Saint Lucie,
and Indian River Counties