S is for Squamous cell carcinoma

August 26, 2023

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin is the second most common form of skin cancer, characterized by abnormal, accelerated growth of squamous cells.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that originates from squamous cells, which are flat, thin cells found in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and in various other tissues and organs. It is one of the most common forms of skin cancer and can also occur in other areas of the body, such as the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, and genitalia, as well as in the lungs, esophagus, and other internal organs.

Causes and Risk Factors: The primary cause of SCC is prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Other risk factors include fair skin, a history of sunburns, a weakened immune system, exposure to certain chemicals, older age, and a history of precancerous skin lesions called actinic keratoses.

Appearance: SCC often appears as a red, scaly patch, a raised bump, or a sore that doesn’t heal. It might have a crusty or wart-like appearance. It can sometimes be mistaken for a wart or other benign skin growth.

Diagnosis: A dermatologist or a healthcare professional can diagnose SCC through a physical examination and, if necessary, by performing a skin biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of the suspicious tissue for microscopic examination.

Staging: SCC is typically staged based on the size of the tumor, its depth of invasion, and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Staging helps determine the appropriate treatment and prognosis.

Treatment: The treatment of SCC depends on factors such as the size, location, and stage of the cancer. Common treatment options include surgical removal, cryotherapy (freezing), radiation therapy, topical chemotherapy, and photodynamic therapy. In cases where the cancer has spread, more aggressive treatments might be necessary.

Prognosis: SCC is usually highly curable when detected and treated early. The prognosis becomes less favorable if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant organs. Regular skin screenings and self-examinations can aid in early detection and improved outcomes.

Prevention: Protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure is key to preventing SCC. This involves using sunscreen with a high SPF, wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and avoiding tanning beds. Regular self-examinations of your skin can help identify any suspicious changes early on.


Comments are closed.