Squamous Cell Carcinoma On Skin

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the squamous cells. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. Squamous cells are located near the surface of the skin and are shed continuously as new cells are formed. Squamous cell carcinomas develop most commonly from damage to the DNA of these cells as a result of exposure to UV radiation, though damage can result from other agents.

What does Squamous Cell Carcinoma look like?

Squamous cell carcinomas can vary widely in appearance. They often pressent as open sores, scaly red patches, thickened skin with a wart like appearance, or raised growths with a central depression. Lesions may also crust over, itch and bleed. These lesions most frequently occur in sun exposed portions of the body. It is important to note that squamous cell carcinoma lesions look different on everyone and can be difficult to diagnose strictly on appearance.

Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma dangerous?

Squamous cell carcinomas are typically successfully treated. As with other skin cancers, early detection and treatment make treatments easier with a higher success rate. Left untreated, these lesions can become invasive, causing greater damage to deeper layers of the skin and can spread to other portions of the body.

What are risk factors for Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

  • Excessive Sun Exposure:

    Spending a lot of time in the sun or in commercial tanning beds can increase your risk of squamous cell carcinoma. If you live in sunny locations or areas of high altitude the risk is greater. Severe sunburns can increase your risk of squamous cell carcinomas.

  • Fair Skin:

    While anyone is susceptible to developing Squamous cell carcinoma, individuals with less skin pigmentation (melanin) are at increased risk. Individuals who freckle or burn easily tend to have a higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinomas. Those with light skin, red or blond hair, or light colored eyes have increased risk.

  • History of Skin Cancer:

    Having had squamous cell carcinoma one or more times greatly increases your chances of developing it again. If your family has a risk of skin cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma yourself.

How can I prevent squamous cell carcinoma?

Prevention of squamous cell carcinoma centers around protecting the skin from UV exposure. There are simple but effective measures that can be taken to reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma.

  • Avoid mid day sun

    UV exposure is highest during the mid day hours. Avoiding direct sunlight between the hours of 10am and 4pm reduces exposure to the sun's strongest rays, particularly in the summertime. Schedule activities for earlier or later in the day.

  • Wear Sunscreen

    Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF-30 or greater year round, even on cloudy days. Applying sunscreen generously and reapplying every two hours increases effectiveness.

  • Wear Protective Clothing

    Keeping your skin covered is the most effective means of protection. Dark, tightly woven clothing offers the most protection against the suns rays and hats should have a wide brim to protect the face and neck.

How do you treat squamous cell carcinoma?

Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma typically requires surgical removal of the suspicious lesion. Generally the removed tissue will be submitted to a pathology lab for identification of the type of cancer and to confirm adequate removal of all portions of the lesion. When caught early, these procedures can be quick and easy, with little risk of complications.

Do you have suspicious looking changes to your skin?

Don't delay having changes of the condition of your skin evaluated! Whether young or old, skin cancers are a risk we all face, and when caught early, treatments are much less invasive and much more effective. Reach out to us below so that we can schedule you with our Dermatology team to ensure your skin stays healthy!

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