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Squamous Cell CarcinomaAlso Known As: SCC
Chronic exposure to the sun is the cause of almost all SCCs, which most commonly occur on exposed parts of the body—the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back. The rim of the ear and the lower lip also are especially susceptible to the development of these cancers.
SCC is the second most common skin cancer after Basal Cell Carcinoma and afflicts more than 200,000 Americans each year. This cancer may occur on all areas of the body, but most commonly on the sun-exposed skin. Rarely SCC can spread or metastasize to other areas and organs and can become fatal. Lesions on the lip and advanced large lesions are at the highest risk to spread.
Warning Signs of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- A Reddish Patch or irritated area frequently occurring on the face, chest, shoulders, arms, or legs. Sometimes the patch crusts and it may also itch. At other times, the patch persists with no noticeable discomfort.
- An Elevated Growth with a central depression that occasionally bleeds. A growth of this type may rapidly increase in size.
- A Wart-Like Growth that crusts and occasionally bleeds
- An Open Sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains open for a few weeks only to heal up and then bleed again. A persistent, non-healing sore is a very common sign of an early BCC.
The choice of treatment is based on the type, size, location, and depth of penetration of the tumor, as well as the patient’s age and general health.
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation: The growth is peeled away with a curette and the heat produced by an electrocautery needle destroys the residual tumor and controls bleeding.
- Excisional Surgery: The growth is cut out and then closed with stitches.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery: Microscopically controlled excisions. This technique minimizes removal of normal skin and is reserved for large recurrent or difficult to treat areas of the skin.