Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that arises from squamous cells, which are flat and thin cells that make up the outer layer of the skin. SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer, accounting for approximately 20% of all cases. It typically develops in areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, and arms. In rare cases, SCC can also occur in areas of the body that have not been exposed to the sun, such as the genitals and inside the mouth.
Mr. John, a 65-year-old man, presented to his dermatologist with a scaly and painful lesion on his left ear. He reported that the lesion had been growing slowly for several months and was now causing him discomfort. The dermatologist performed a biopsy of the lesion, which revealed squamous cell carcinoma. Mr. John was referred to an oncologist for further evaluation and treatment.
SCC arises from the squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin. When these cells are damaged by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, they can become cancerous. Other factors that increase the risk of SCC include a history of sunburns, a weakened immune system, and exposure to certain chemicals and toxins. SCC can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.
Signs and Symptoms:
The signs and symptoms of SCC can vary depending on the location and size of the lesion. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- A firm, scaly, or crusty lesion on the skin
- A red, inflamed, or raised area of skin
- A sore that does not heal or recurs after healing
- A wart-like growth
- A flat, reddish patch that grows slowly
If SCC is suspected, the dermatologist will perform a biopsy of the lesion to confirm the diagnosis. This involves taking a small sample of the tissue and examining it under a microscope. If SCC is confirmed, the oncologist may recommend additional tests, such as imaging scans or blood tests, to determine the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
The treatment of SCC depends on the size, location, and stage of the cancer. In most cases, the cancer can be treated with surgery to remove the lesion and surrounding tissue. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, other treatments may be necessary, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.
Dos and Don’ts:
To reduce the risk of developing SCC, it is important to protect your skin from the sun by wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and avoiding outdoor activities during peak sun hours. If you notice any unusual changes in your skin, such as new or changing moles, lesions, or sores, it is important to see a dermatologist for evaluation.