Skin Cancer Types Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Skin Cancer Types Squamous Cell Carcinoma What is squamous cancer? Squamous cell cancer (SCC), also referred to as squamous cells, is a type of skin cancer that begins in the plate epithelium. Squamous cells are the thin, shallow cells that make up the epidermis or the outermost layer of the skin. SCC is caused by changes in the DNA of these cells that cause them to multiply uncontrollably.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SCC is the second most common form of cancer. About 700,000 people in the United States suffer from this type of skin cancer every year.
People with SCC often develop flaky, red spots, open sores or warts on their skin. These abnormal growths can develop everywhere, but they are most commonly found in areas exposed to the most ultraviolet rays (UV), either from sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps. The condition is usually not life-threatening, but it can be dangerous if it goes untreated. If the treatment is not received in a timely manner, the growth can increase in size and spread to other parts of the body, leading to serious complications.
What are the different types of skin cancer?
Your skin has several layers. The outer protective layer of the skin is called the epidermis. The epidermis consists of squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. These cells are constantly shed to enable the way for fresh, new skin cells. However, if certain genetic changes occur in the DNA of one of these cells, skin cancer may occur. The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.
Squamous cells are the cells closest to the skin surface, and their purpose is to hem the skin. SCC often develops on areas of the body that are often exposed to ultraviolet radiation, such as the face, hands, and ears. In some cases, it may occur in other areas of the body.
Basal cell cancer
Basal cells sit below the squamous cell, and they constantly divide to form new cells. Basal cell cancer is, according to the American Cancer Society, the most common cancer. Basal cell cancer develops like SCC on surfaces exposed to UV rays, especially face and throat. This cancer tends to grow slowly, and it rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, if basal cell cancer is not treated, it may eventually spread to the bones and other tissues.
Melanocytes are located in the deepest part of the epidermis. These cells are responsible for the production of melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. When cancer develops in the melanocytes, the condition is called malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma is less common than squamous and basal cancers, but it is more likely that it will grow and spread if it remains untreated.
What are the symptoms of squamous cancer?
SCC often occurs in areas exposed to UV radiation such as the face, ear, and hands. It can also occur in the mouth, in the genital area, and on the genitalia.
In its initial phase, SCC often presents itself as a flaky, reddish skin spot. In the course of progress, it can turn into an elevated bulge that continues to grow. The growth can also crust or bleed. In the mouth, this cancer will take the appearance of a mouth ulcer or a white spot.
In some cases, you will notice new growth on an already existing scar, mole, or birth sign. Any existing lesions or wounds that do not heal may also indicate SCC.
Arrange an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent complications.
What causes squamous cancer?
Skin cancer is caused by mutations that occur in skin cell DNA. These changes cause abnormal cells to be out of control. If it occurs in squamous cells, the condition is called SCC.
UV radiation is the most common cause of DNA mutations that lead to skin cancer. UV radiation can be found in sunlight as well as in tanning lamps and beds.
While the frequent exposure to UV radiation greatly increases your risk of skin cancer, the condition can also develop in people who do not spend a lot of time in the sun or in tanning beds. These people may be genetically susceptible to skin cancer, or they may have weakened immune systems that increase their likelihood of getting skin cancer. Those who have received radiation treatment for other skin diseases may also have a higher risk of skin cancer.
What are the risk factors for squamous cancer?
Risk factors for SCC are:
- With fair skin
- Bright hair and blue, green or grey eyes
- Long-term exposure to UV radiation
- Living in sunny regions or at high altitude
- With a history of several severe sunburns, especially when they occurred early in life
- A history of exposure to chemicals, such as arsenic
- How is squamous cancer diagnosed?
- Your doctor will first perform a physical examination and inspect all abnormal areas for signs of SCC. They will ask you
- about your medical history. If USSR is suspected, the doctor may decide to take a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
A biopsy usually involves removing a very small part of the affected skin. The skin sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing. In some cases, your doctor may need to remove a larger portion or all of the abnormal growth for testing. Talk to your doctor about a possible scar or biopsy concerns.
How is squamous cancer treated?
The treatment of SCC varies. The treatment is based on:
- The extent and severity of your cancer
- Your age
- Your general health
- The location of the cancer
If SCC is caught early, the state can usually be handled successfully. It will be harder to heal once it has spread. Many treatments can be performed as in-office procedures.
- In Mohs ‘ micrographic surgery, your doctor uses a scalpel to remove the abnormal skin and some of the surrounding tissues. The sample is checked immediately under a microscope. If cancer cells are in the sample, the process is repeated until no cancer cells are found.
- During the stimulation surgery, your doctor removes the cancer cells as well as a thin layer of healthy skin in the environment. Seams are used to close the wound. The sample is then sent to a laboratory to ensure that the entire cancer area has been removed.
- The Electrosurgery, also called curettage and electrodesiccation, involves the scraping of cancer and the burning of the skin to kill cancer cells. This process is usually performed more than once to ensure thorough treatment and complete removal of cancer.
- During the cryosurgery, your doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the cancer tissue. Like the electrosurgery, this treatment is repeated several times to ensure that the entire cancer tissue has been eliminated.
- Radiation uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. This treatment is administered externally by a machine that targets the rays on the affected area. The radiation is often carried out several weeks a week.
Some physicians may also use photodynamic therapy, laser surgery and topical medications for the treatment of SCC. However, the US Food and Drug Authority has not approved these methods of handling SCC:
- Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, involves the application of a photosensitizing substance to the carcinogenic areas. On the following day, the medication cut areas are exposed to strong light for several minutes. This activates the applied drug and kills abnormal cells.
- Laser surgery uses a laser to remove areas of skin that are abnormal.
- Topical medications, such as 5-Fluorouracil and Imiquimod, which are used to treat other skin cancer, can also help to treat SCC.
Once SCC has been treated, it is important to visit all follow-up visits with your doctor. SCC can return, and it is important to monitor your skin for all precancerous or carcinogenic areas at least once a month.
What does the outlook look like for people with squamous cancer?
Early detection of SCC is the key to successful treatment. If SCC is not treated in the early stages, cancer may spread to other areas of the body, including lymph nodes and organs. As soon as this happens, the condition can be life-threatening.
Skin Cancer Types Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Those with weakened immune systems due to certain medical conditions, such as HIV, AIDS or leukemia, have a higher risk of developing more serious forms of SCC.
How can squamous cancer be prevented?
To reduce your risk for SCC, follow these tips:
- Limit your sun exposure.
- Avoid the sun in the hottest part of the day, which is between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 when you go in the sun.
- Wear sunglasses with UV radiation protection.
- Wear a hat and cover your skin when you work outside.
- Avoid using tanning beds and lamps.
- Protect your skin even in winter, because winter rays can be particularly dangerous.
- Check your skin every month for new or abnormal growths.
- See once a year a dermatologist for a full body skin check.
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