Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer that occurs on the skin. It usually appears on the face, nose, ears, neck, hands and arms but they can be found on other parts of the body. This type of skin cancer is usually seen in people over the age of 50. Squamous cell carcinoma appears as a skin lesion or growth. Some appear to be rough, red and scaly. It may appear as an injury or wound that does not want to heal. Warts or moles that appear and start to change with irregular areas or growth should be suspect for squamous cell carcinoma as well.
People who are at risk of contracting squamous cell carcinoma are those who have had extended exposure to the sun or to ultraviolet radiation. People who have a fair complexion and have blue or green eyes are at higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma than their counterparts. People who have been exposed to chemicals or have had a large number of x-rays are more likely to develop this type of cancer. The risk of this type of cancer rises as a person gets older.
As stated above the main thing to look for here is bumps or growths that are rough, scaly, or red in nature. Look for these areas on the face, neck, arms and hands. Watch for any changes in moles or warts that are present in these areas of the body. Any sore or skin lesion that is not healing properly should be suspect for this type of cancer. If any of these types of lesions are found, a consultation with a physician should be done immediately.
Early detection and treatment are the key to a high success rate with this type of cancer. Treatment consists of a biopsy and surgical removal in the majority of the cases. In a minority of cases due to specific location, a scraping or shaving may be done to reduce trauma to the face. Skin grafts may be necessary if large lesions are found on the facial areas. Removal of the tumor is usually effective in 90% of cases. However treatment depends on the size of the tumor, the location of the tumor and how far the cancer has spread. This type of cancer if not detected early can spread to the internal organs of the body.
If surgical removal is not sufficient to remove all of the cancer, then radiation treatments will be done afterwards. In rare cases chemotherapy may be necessary if surgery and radiation therapy are not effective. This type of cancer has a high rate of recurrence so people who have had squamous cell carcinoma in the past are much more likely to have more cancerous lesions appear in the future. They should be very vigilant and report any lesions that occur as soon as they notice them for prompt treatment.
There are things that people can do in order to reduce their chances of contracting squamous cell carcinoma. The first thing that should be done is to limit the exposure to the sun’s rays. The skin should be protected from the sun at all times. Sunscreen should be worn as much as possible. Sunscreen should be an SPF 30 minimum and should be applied every 30 minutes while outside. Clothing should be worn to cover the skin in order to protect it from the sun and hats worn to protect the head and neck. Avoid exposure to the sun in the hottest part of the day and the most intense sun’s rays which are from 10:00am until 2:00pm. Examine the skin frequently and note any type of mole, wart, or skin lesion that appears on the body. If you have any questions or concerns about any of these lesions have them evaluated by a medical professional. As stated above early detection and treatment are key to having successful treatment here!