As of March 20, 2020 we are no longer seeing patients in our office due to COVID-19. We are happy to continue caring for you during these uncertain times. We are now offering remote appointments for new and established patients although we will no longer be able to see you in person. For some patients, an in person visit is best, but if you feel that your concern could be addressed online, this may be a convenient option for you.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a form of skin cancer. It is the second most common type of skin cancer, with over 1.8 million cases diagnosed each year in the United States. With early diagnosis and treatment, SCC is highly curable. If not treated, SCC can spread to other parts of the body and is potentially deadly.
Your risk of developing SCC increases if you have these risk factors:
You should be aware that squamous cell carcinoma can appear on areas that are not normally exposed to sunlight, including the genitals, anus, and inside the mouth. Some genital warts can also turn into a squamous cell carcinoma. Bring any new or changing skin features to the attention of your dermatologist.
Most SCC is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. UV rays damage the DNA within cells. This damage causes the cells to become cancerous.
The only way to diagnose any type of skin cancer is through a biopsy. The following treatment may be suggested for you depending upon how deep the cancer has grown and whether it has spread.
Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) The Same as Melanoma?
Is SCC a Benign Cancer?
Is SCC Hereditary?
How Does SCC Spread?
What Is the Best Protection Against SCC?
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of a broad-brimmed hat to keep sunlight off your face and neck. Finally, schedule regular skin checks with your dermatologist and immediately let them know about any new or changing moles or lesions. SCC is highly treatable when discovered early.
Anyone who has had SCC has a higher risk for getting another skin cancer. To help patients manage this higher risk, dermatologists recommend the following:
Actinic keratosis (plural actinic keratoses) appears as a scaly patch on your skin. Sometimes an actinic keratosis is just a rough spot that is better felt than seen. The nature of actinic keratoses vary, but they often take the nature of a healing, scabby scrape. Actinic keratoses may be the same color as your skin, but could even be red, pink, gray, brown, or yellow. It may bleed or be painful, although it is sometimes completely painless. Actinic keratoses may appear anywhere on your body, including your lips.
Be aware that actinic keratoses are precancerous lesions. Actinic keratosis is not particularly dangerous on its own. However, left alone, these patches can result in squamous cell carcinoma. Therefore, it’s crucial that you see your dermatologist if you suspect actinic keratosis. Your specialist can examine the patches to determine their nature and prescribe appropriate treatment.
Actinic keratosis treatment is similar to the treatments listed above. It may involve light therapy, excision, chemical peels, or other methods. Surveillance and vigilance will also be important to monitor for any recurrence or signs of squamous cell carcinoma.
Learn more at the American Academy of Dermatology: AAD Squamous cell carcinoma.
Our goal here at The Dermatology of Institute of Boston is protect the health of our patients and staff. To continue caring for our patients during these uncertain times, while strictly adhering to the guidelines set by the CDC, we will be only offering virtual consultations. For some patients, an in person visit is best, but if you feel that your concern could be addressed online, this may be a convenient option for you.