What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is a common, yet histologically-distinct skin cancer that starts when there is an uninhibited multiplication of malignant squamous cells, which normally are fine, flat cells that look like scales under magnification. These cells are located in the tissue that forms the skin surface, the respiratory and digestive tracts and lining of hollow organs. The incidence increases with age with an average peak incidence at 66 years old.

Chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from tanning beds is the primary reason for the majority of the cases of this cancer. Other factors that can play a role to the development of squamous cell carcinoma are old age, family history, weak immunity, xeroderma pigmentosum, smoking and skin injury.

In this type of cancer, there is a relatively slow-growing bump that possesses a rough and scaly red patches located commonly on the face, neck, arms and hands and other sun-exposed areas. The lesion may appear as a hard plaque with small blood vessels. In addition, there is an irregular bleeding from the tumor, particularly on the lips.

The treatment is dependent on the tumor’s size and anatomical location, the number and the surgeon’s preference. Usually, the treatment is curative. In fact, if this is correctly treated, the cure percentage is about 95%. Squamous cell carcinomas are usually removed surgically via simple excision. Freezing with liquid nitrogen is a successful option for very small squamous cell carcinomas. If the carcinoma is larger than 2 centimeters, the most effective treatment is the Mohs surgery. If the patient has larger tumors, or is situated in a more challenging location, diagnostic tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography, or MRI to determine the degree of involvement and metastasis. If it is metastatic, radiotherapy might be the choice of treatment.



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Squamous Cell Carcinoma Pictures

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