What Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common type of skin cancer found in humans. About 700,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States every year. SCC tends to develop on skin exposed to the sun for years. Although it is most frequently found on sun-exposed areas, such as the neck, head, and back of the hands, it can spread to other body parts. With early diagnosis and treatment, squamous cell carcinoma is highly curable.

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Who Gets SCC?

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer that can affect anyone, but some individuals may be at higher risk than others. Some factors that increase the risk of developing SCC include UV exposure, fair skin, age (more commonly above 50), immune system suppression, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, and gender (affecting more men than women). People who use tanning beds often have a much higher risk of getting SCC and tend to get it earlier in life. Women frequently get SCC on their lower legs, but people of any gender can get SCC on any body part, including inside the mouth, lips, and genitals. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment

SCC is often removed in the doctor’s office as a minor surgical procedure.  Squamous cell cancers usually arise from pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratosis. If not removed, they will continue to grow locally and, in rare cases (about two percent), can grow deeper into the body. Because of this, it is vital to schedule treatment right away. The choice of treatment will depend on several factors, including the size, location, and stage of the cancer as well as the individual's overall health. In some cases, combination treatments may achieve the best outcome.

Mohs Surgery

A specialized surgical technique, Mohs surgery involves removing the cancerous tissue layer by layer until all the cancer cells are gone.

Excisional Surgery

In some cases, the entire cancerous area may be removed with a surgical procedure to ensure no cancerous cells remain.

Radiation Therapy

High-energy radiation therapy can kill cancer cells. This is often done in conjunction with a surgical procedure.

Topical Medications

Creams or gels containing medications such as imiquimod or fluorouracil may be used to treat superficial SCC.


Cryotherapy treatment uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the cancerous tissue, ensuring the area is cancer-free.

Early Detection and Treatment Saves Lives

Our board-certified medical providers at Skin Care Doctors have the knowledge and extensive experience to ensure you receive the highest quality treatment. When it comes to treating your skin, it’s essential to choose a specialist who knows the latest skin care treatments. Contact our office today if you have a lesion that you want to get checked by an expert. Early skin cancer detection and treatment can be a life-saving endeavor.

Better skin health starts here. Schedule your appointment today.

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