Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma, or squamous cell cancer (SCC), is a malignant tumor that develops in the squamous cells in the outermost skin layer, the epidermis.  This tumor type is most common in men (developing on the skin of the head) and slightly less common in women (developing on the skin of the legs).

Find out more about the causes and symptoms, and the most commonly used diagnostic tests and treatment types for squamous cell carcinoma on this page.

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Causes and symptoms

Squamous cell carcinoma is most common in people over 40 years old. The most common cause is repeated exposure to sunlight over an extended period of time. Squamous cell carcinoma is most common in parts of the skin that are exposed to the sun more often. Prescription medicine that suppresses the immune system may also play a part in the development of squamous cell carcinoma.

Before developing squamous cell carcinoma, you may notice cornification of the skin (skin damage due to the sun) which may develop into squamous cell carcinoma. The tumor itself is a wart-like lump that experiences slow growth. It does not itch but may hurt.

 

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests may be done to confirm or rule out squamous cell cancer:

Treatment options

Your exact treatment options will depend on the tumor type and stage. Your overall health and shape will also affect your options. We will inform you about the process beforehand, and you will have plenty of time to ask questions. Your treatment will most likely consist of one or more of the following treatments: