Squamous Cell Skin Cancer / Carcinoma

Squamous cell skin cancer or carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that affects the middle layer of the skin.

Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma are:

  • Raised bumps
  • Crusty and scaly bumps
  • Pea-sized or larger bumps

In some instances, squamous cell skin cancer can take the form of:

  • Red, scaly bump
  • Flat or slightly elevated
  • 1/4 in to 1 inch in diameter

This form of skin cancer occurs most commonly on the:

  • face
  • lips
  • inside of the mouth
  • ears
  • back of arms
  • hands
  • legs

If left untreated, squamous cell cancer can metastasize or spread internally.

Who Gets It?

After basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. Every year, there are pproximately 250,000 cases of this skin cancer.

Prevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell skin cancer can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding too much sun exposure
  • Using lotion with SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or greater on sun-exposed skins
  • Wearing sun-protective clothings and hats

Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The treatment for this skin cancer is dependent on the size and location of the cancer:

  • Surgical excision
    Removal of the cancerous tissue by scalpel followed by a skin graft is usually done for cancer that cover a large area of the skin

  • Mohs' surgery
    In this surgery, the cancer cells are removed one skin layer at a time. The layers are examined by a microscope and the skin layers continue to be removed until no more cancer cells are seen.

    Because this procedure preserves the as much healthy tissue as possible, it is used for squamous cell carcinoma on the face, lips, nose, ears. It is also used for recurrent cancer.

  • Chemotherapy and other conventional cancer treatment
    Metastasized squamous cell skin cancer, or cancer that has spread internally, needs to be treated with chemotherapy or other conventional cancer treatment.

Early treatment is the key - when detected early, the cure rate for squamous cell carcinoma is 95%.

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