1. Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are generally non life-threatening
For most people, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is not life-threatening. It tends to be localized to a part of the body but can spread to other parts on occasion. As with most skin cancers, prevention and early detection is key. Although this skin cancer is is highly treatable, if given time to grow, it can grow deep damaging nerves, blood vessels, and any tissue or organ in its path. This can change the way you look, and for some people, the change may be disfiguring. As the cancer cells pile up and form a large tumor, the cancer can reach into the bone beneath and causing serious complications, even proving fatal.
2. SCCs have various risk factors
As with most skin cancers, SCCs are generally caused by sun exposure and damage to skin cells due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. SCCs are studied widely around the world since they are so common. Several factors increase the risk of a SCC.
Age and sex: SCCs are particularly prevalent in elderly males. However, they also affect females and younger adults
Repeated prior episodes of sunburn
Fair skin, blue eyes, and blond or red hair
Previous skin injury, thermal burn, or disease
Exposure to ionizing radiation, arsenic, or immune suppression due to disease or medicines
That said, SCCs can occur in men and women of all ages and skin types.
3. Diagnosis is relatively straightforward
4. Various treatments are available
Treatment for SCCs generally involves cryotherapy to remove the damaged skin cells. These are generally located in the epidermis layer. Epidermis regenerates from surrounding cells that have not suffered sun damage. Other treatments can involve surgical excision (cutting and removing), chemical peels, or cauterizing (burning). The choice of treatment depends upon the size of the cancer, its location, how long you have had the tumor, and how much scarring is likely to occur with each treatment. Scarring is generally minimal and our dermatologist recommends a treatment plan to minimize or remove scarring and prevent recurrence.