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Skin Cancer


Squamous cell carcinoma

It is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers (the epidermis). SCCs often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts. SCCs may occur on all areas of the body including the mucous membranes and genitals, but are most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, bald scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs. 

 

Causes

Chronic exposure to sunlight causes most cases of squamous cell carcinoma. Frequent use of tanning beds also multiplies the risk of squamous cell carcinoma; people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma than those who don’t. But skin injuries are another important source. The cancer can arise in burns, scars, ulcers, long-standing sores and sites previously exposed to X-rays or certain chemicals (such as arsenic and petroleum by-products). Other causes may include chronic infections and skin inflammation. 

How to prevent Skin Cancer

While squamous cell carcinomas and other skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early, it is best to prevent them in the first place. Make these sun safety habits part of your daily health care routine:

  • Seek the shade.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.

Treatment

Squamous cell carcinomas detected at an early stage and removed promptly are almost always curable and cause minimal damage. However, left untreated, they eventually penetrate the underlying tissues and can become disfiguring. The choice of treatment is based on the type, size, location, and depth of penetration of the tumor, as well as the patient's age and general health. Different treatment options are:

  • Micrographic Surgery
  • Excisional Surgery
  • Curettage and Electrodesiccation (Electrosurgery)
  • Cryosurgery
  • Radiation
  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
  • Laser Surgery
  • Topical Medications

 

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