Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Causes and Treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Approximately 700,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Squamous cell carcinoma usually presents as a pink scaly bump or a scaly patch of skin. Sometimes they can be painful, but not always. There are some simple precautions that can be taken to prevent squamous cell carcinoma and several available treatment options.

What are the causes of squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is caused by chronic long-term sun exposure. People who work outside, as well as gardeners and golfers, often get squamous cell carcinoma. Those who frequently use tanning booths are also at risk. Some squamous cell carcinomas can be caused by viruses such as the human papillomavirus (HPV).

How can it be prevented?

The best way to prevent squamous cell carcinoma is by using good sun protection, but this doesn’t mean sunscreen alone. Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher should be used and re-applied every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Sun protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and wide brim hats are recommended, as is simply seeking shade.

How is squamous cell carcinoma treated?

Several types of treatment are available. Mohs surgery is commonly used, especially if the skin cancer is in a particularly sensitive area such as the head and neck, hands and feet, or in the groin. On other parts of the body, unless the lesion is particularly large, squamous cell carcinoma can be treated with a simple excision—the doctor removes the piece of skin, then closes the area with stitches.

In some cases, if the squamous cell carcinoma is superficial, the doctor uses a procedure called electrodesiccation and curettage. The tumor cells are scraped away, and then the area is cauterized. Sometimes, a cream such as a chemotherapy cream can be used.

While squamous cell carcinoma is a serious condition, there are many good treatment options. The staff at Dermatology Consultants treats squamous cell carcinoma daily. You can schedule same day and next day appointments by calling 651-209-1600 or on our website.

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