Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells, which make up both the middle and outer layers of the skin. It usually starts as a precancerous scaly patch on sun-exposed areas that slowly grows and becomes tender. While this condition is not usually life-threatening, it can be aggressive and will continue to grow and invade local structures. If left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to lymph nodes and other organs and be fatal.
Most cases of squamous cell carcinomas occur as a result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps. Avoiding UV light helps reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma as well as other forms of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma can also occur from warts having pre-cancerous strains of HPV.
Generally, this form of skin cancer occurs in areas that are directly exposed to sunlight such as your face, scalp, backs of your hands, ears, and lips. It is more prominent in lighter skin individuals but can occur in all skin types. It can occur anywhere on your body, including inside your mouth, soles of the feet, and on the genitalia.
Some signs of squamous cell carcinoma include:
- A firm, red nodule
- A scaling tender patch
- An ulcerated papule on the skin or oral cavity
- A new papule in an old scar or ulcer
- A rough, scaly patch on the lip that doesn’t resolve with moisturization
- An enlarging warty papule on the hands, feet or genitalia.
If you are suffering from squamous cell carcinoma, treatment will generally include a relatively minor surgery. However, it will depend on the size, location and aggressiveness of the tumor, as well as your own preferences or circumstances.
Methods of removal include:
- Topical chemotherapy
- Curettage and electrodessication
- Cryotherapy, or freezing
- Simple excision
- Mohs surgery
- Radiation therapy
For more information on skin cancers or to schedule a skin cancer screening, be sure to contact Nova Dermatology today.