What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous Cell Carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, is often a scaly, growing lesion and is also usually on the sun-exposed skin.
Risk factors include:
- History of sun exposure (more common in sunny climates closer to the equator)
- Patients who are “immunosuppressed” (such as after an organ transplant)
- Smoking may further increase the risk, especially on the lips.
- May develop from actinic keratoses
May appear as:
- Firm pink bumps on the hands
- Tender, easily bleeding sores on the face
Similar to basal cell carcinoma, SCC is diagnosed by a biopsy in the dermatologist’s office. Squamous cell carcinoma may metastasize in 0.5-5% of cases, so very rarely. The risk of metastasis may be higher when found on the lower lip.
- Use of regular sun protection including sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater
- Sun protective clothing such as long sleeves and hats
- Avoidance of the mid day sun
- Regular skin checks
Squamous cell carcinoma is best treated surgically either in your dermatologist’s office or by a specialized Mohs surgeon. In some cases, recommended treatment includes a topical chemotherapy cream for 6-8 weeks, radiation, or a specialized light therapy.