Squamous cell skin cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the squamous cells. Squamous cells comprise most of the upper layers of skin. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) often appear as scaly red patches, elevated growth with a central depression, open sores, or warts—all of which may bleed or become crusty. If allowed to grow they can cause disfigurement or even death.
This type of skin cancer is mainly caused by UV exposure, either from exposure to the sun or the UV from tanning beds. SCC can occur on any area of the body; however, they are most commonly found on areas that are most exposed to the sun. These areas included the lower lip, scalp, neck, ears, hands, arms, and legs. The skin in these body parts often exhibit signs of sun damage, including pigment changes, freckles, wrinkles, and broken blood vessels.
Squamous cell cancers usually remain within the top layer of skin for some time. As the tumors grow, more extensive treatments may be required. The tumors can sometimes penetrate the underlying tissues, which can lead to disfigurement, including the loss of an ear, eye, or nose. A small percentage of these cells can spread to other tissues and organs, which in turn can be life threatening. Treatment for squamous cell carcinoma can include:
It is important to detect this or any other type of skin cancer as soon as possible. Whether you are in a high risk group or not, you should do a self-exam at least once a month. Identifying any potential skin cancers at the earliest stages will prevent more serious conditions. During this self-exam, you should check for any skin spots or moles that may be new, or those that are changing in size or shape. It is important to check all areas of your body, even those that may not be exposed to sun.
At Laser Lipo and Vein Center, we are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about squamous cell cancer or other forms of skin cancer. Says Dr. Thomas Wright, medical director at the Center, “We understand how important early detection and we want to provide tools to our patients that can help with catching skin cancer in its earliest stages.”