Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common shin cancer after basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinomas are often described as enlarging red bumps, sometimes with a rough, scaly, or crusted surface. They may also look like flat reddish patches in the skin that grow slowly. If untreated, they can become ulcerated (open sores). Most squamous cell carcinomas grow slowly. Occasionally, they may occur quite rapidly, particularly in patients who are immunosuppressed.
Squamous cell carcinomas occur most frequently on sun-exposed areas such as the head, neck, ears, lips, back of the hands and forearms.
This cancer rarely metastasizes (spreads to lymph nodes or other organs), although distant spread happens more frequently than in basal cell carcinoma. The squamous cell carcinoma that has metastasized typically is:
When squamous cell carcinoma does metastasize, it most commonly travels to the local lymph nodes.
UV light damages DNA. Normally, skin cells have ways to protect DNA or
to repair DNA that is damaged by UV light. However, when these protective
mechanisms fail, DNA damage can ultimately affect the genes that regulate
cell division, causing tumors to form.
skin once a month for any suspicious changes. The single most important
feature that may signal the presence of a skin cancer is a new, changing,
enlarging skin growth that persists. Sores that won't heal may also indicate
cancerous or precancerous conditions of the skin that need attention.
Early treatment is critical.
If the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma is confirmed, treatment often involves out-patient surgery. Contact your dermatologist to discuss the full range of treatment options.
What should I do if I have had squamous cell
Most patients with a history of squamous cell carcinoma should see their dermatologist for a full skin evaluation at least once a year. In some cases, the dermatologist may recommend more frequent skin examinations.Images (click on an image for a larger view)
Microscopic view of Squamous cell carcinoma