Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that appears on sun-damaged skin.
It is found most commonly on areas where the skin is exposed to the sun, including the scalp, upper rim of the ear, the face, lips, and shoulders.
Nearly 250,000 American are diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma each year. It is important to detect and treat skin cancer early before it spreads to other tissues.
SCC that has not spread to other tissues is sometimes referred to as squamous cell in situ (also called SCCIS or Bowen’s disease). The cure rate for SCCIS is over 95%.
Appearance of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
SCC can appear in a number of forms, including:
- A dry, crusted, scaly patch of skin that is red and swollen at the base
- A sore that won’t heal
- Crusted skin
- A thickened, crusty patch of skin with a raised border with a pebbly, granular base
If your skin shows any of these symptoms, consult a dermatologist or your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor may perform a skin biopsy to diagnose skin cancer. During this procedure, a portion of the lesion is removed and examined under a microscope.
Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The recommended treatment of SCC depends on its type, location, risk, and the clinical judgment of your doctor.
Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma may include the following:
- Simple excision. The SCC is removed with scalpel, and stitches are used close the wound. The tissue may be sent for further examination under a microscope to ensure the complete removal of abnormal cells.
- Mohs micrographic surgery. Mohs Surgery is a specialized surgery often recommended for higher risk tumors, such as those that return in the same place after being previously treated. In this procedure, the tumor is removed in stages. Each portion of tissue is examined under a microscope to make sure that cancerous cells have been removed while sparing as much normal skin as possible.
Early Detection of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
After being diagnosed with SCC, a person should seek regular dermatology exams and perform monthly skin self exams.