2What is it?Squamous cell carcinoma is an extremely common form of skin cancer which is usually noncancerous, especially if caught early. In almost 97% of cases, the cancer can be excised and the patient will fully recover. In other instances, squamous cell carcinoma has the potential to metastasize, spreading to other portions of the body and creating serious health problems.
4Who it effects:It is the second most frequent malignant skin tumor after basal cell carcinoma.Most common type of cancer in the Caucasian populationSkin cancers have about 600,000 cases per year. Of these, 100,000 to 150,000 are squamous cell carcinomas.
6Most likely to get it: Fair skin white men, usually over age 60. Blonde or red hair; blue or green eyes.History of indoor tanning Diagnosed with actinic keratoses (AKs).Family history of skin cancer.Weakened immune system (immunosuppression).Received radiation therapy.History of exposure to coal tar products or arsenic.
8How you get it:The incidence of skin cancers is rising every year, likely due to increased sun exposure. Most squamous cell carcinomas result from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps. Avoiding UV light as much as possible is the best protection. Sunscreen is an important part of a sun-safety program, but by itself doesn't completely prevent squamous cell carcinoma or other types of skin cancer.
10SymptomsSkin cancer first appears as a growth and it sometimes takes the form of a sore or pimple that does not heal. The sore may bleed or ooze fluid, crust or scab over, and then ooze or bleed again. Cancer can occur on almost any area of the skin, but is most common on areas often exposed to the sun. Skin cancer usually is painless.
11Symptoms The most common symptoms are: 1. A new growth on the skin. 2. A change in an existing skin growth.3. A sore that does not heal.
13DiagnosisIn addition to taking a complete medical history and checking the affected area of skin, your doctor may remove a small skin sample (biopsy) for examination under a microscope. Often, the biopsy is sent to a pathologist who has special expertise in diagnosing skin samples.
15DiagnosisA suspected squamous cell carcinoma is often biopsied by shaving off the top layers of skin with a surgical blade. Tumors that have spread deeper into the skin may be partially or completely removed (incisional or excisional biopsy).
17TreatmentsFreezing: This involves removing cancerous cells by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.Simple excision: In this procedure, your doctor cuts out the cancerous tissue and a surrounding margin of healthy skin.
18TreatmentsLaser therapy: An intense beam of light vaporizes growths, usually with little damage to surrounding tissue and with a reduced risk of bleeding, swelling and scarring. Lasers are often used to treat superficial carcinomas on the lips.
19TreatmentsMohs surgery: This is often considered the most effective treatment for squamous cell carcinomas. During the procedure, your doctor removes the tumor layer by layer. This allows the entire growth to be removed without taking an excessive amount of surrounding healthy skin.
21TreatmentsRadiation therapy: This may be an option for treating large cancers on the eyelids, lips and ears — areas that are difficult to treat surgically — or for tumors too deep to cut out.
22TreatmentsChemotherapy: For very superficial cancers, creams or lotions containing anti-cancer agents may be applied directly to your skin. Some of these medications can cause severe inflammation and scarring. This can also come in the form of an IV which is inserted into the body.
26PrognosisAlthough an original squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis comes with a 95% cure rate, the disease is typically recurring if the tumors spread to other locations on the body, the prognosis is less promising if the cancer spreads t the lymph nodes or organs in the body.
27PrognosisThe prognosis for if the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes can be as high as 73% with proper treatment. When in the lungs, it is not cureable.Prompt treatment of suspicious skin lesions help to ensure early diagnosis and affords the best possible prognosis.