Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer affecting approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma are often red, firm and nodular with an intact or eroded/bleeding overlying skin surface, but may be irregular in shape (more flat, scaly or wart-like) in appearance. They are often painless, but may be sensitive or painful and can occur on any cutaneous surface among other body tissues, including inside your mouth or around your anus.
Many clinical and pathologic subtypes exist with varying degrees of metastatic potential. Fortunately, most cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas don’t metastasize readily or by the time of treatment, and are generally highly curable. Squamous cell carcinoma in situ is a very early form of squamous cell carcinoma confined to the uppermost level of the skin and is generally the least aggressive subtype.
Other risk factors include: increasing age, personal history of skin cancer or actinic keratoses, radiation therapy, immune-suppressing conditions or medications, arsenic and certain other chemical exposures, chronic unstable cutaneous wounds / inflammation or scars, some human papillomavirus infections, smoking, and inherited syndromes that cause skin cancer.
Actinic keratoses are a type of skin lesion that can evolve into squamous cell carcinoma and are generally treated in-office by destruction or removal to prevent future malignant transformation.
Diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma is confirmed by biopsy or removal with pathologic examination.
All cancer, including skin cancer should be completely destroyed or thoroughly removed. Untreated squamous cell carcinoma can metastasize (i.e. spread to other tissues) and eventually become difficult to treat or incurable. Overall, squamous cell carcinoma has a slightly higher risk of metastasis than basal cell carcinoma, but are still generally highly curable.
Excision or Mohs Surgery are usually the preferred treatment options.
To prevent or catch skin cancer early, minimize sun exposure, do skin self-exams monthly and get professionally examined by a dermatology provider for any suspicious skin growths and also, on a regular periodic basis, if recommended.
With over 25 years experience, board-certified dermatologist and fellow-trained Mohs skin cancer surgeon Dr. Robert Strimling, MD specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment, including Mohs surgery and reconstruction, of squamous cell carcinoma and other skin cancers.
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