Squamous Cell Cancer

Squamous Cell Cancer is the second most common skin cancer.  It affects just over 1 million Americans each year with an incidence of 1.8 million actual cancers being diagnosed.  This is about 1/2 as common as Basal Cell Cancer.

Squamous cells are found throughout the body, therefore people will have squamous cell cancers of other organs including lungs, throat, thyroid, colon.  The squamous cells however referred to those on her skin surface.

These lesions generally grow slowly but a small subset behave aggressively, grow rapidly and can cause not only local destruction and invasion, but also spread to local lymph nodes and even distant organs.  Because of this it is estimated approximately 2000 people die each year from squamous cell skin cancer each year.

Many lesions began as actinic keratosis which are precancerous growths.  Others will simply develop where nothing previously existed.

Frequent screening an self evaluation can help to diagnose it.

Lesions

  1. Rough, reddish scaly patch
  2. Open sore.
  3. Firm raised dome/cone type growth
  4. Warty light growth.
  5. A dry “horn” growing on the skin surface.
  6. A sore that develops in an old scar.

Risk Factors

  1. Individuals with fair skin, light eyes, red and blond hair
  2. Multiple sunburns
  3. History of UV damage due to extensive sun or tanning bed use
  4. Living in a sunny region such as California or Florida, high altitude also contributes.
  5. History of HPV infection
  6. Immunosuppressed individuals especially organ transplant patients.
  7. Personal history of skin cancer

Treatments

  1. Excisional Surgery
  2. Mohs Surgery
  3. Electrodessication and curettage (Ed&C)
  4. Cryosurgery
  5. Topical Medications
  6. Radiation Therapy

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