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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma.

This type of skin cancer usually affects middle aged or elderly light skinned individuals who have significant sun damage. Squamous cell carcinomas grow from the outer layer of skin and, in some cases, are preceded by precancerous spots called actinic keratosis. Lesions that are suspicious for squamous cell carcinomas, appear crusted or scaly and inflamed, will grow and may ulcerate or bleed spontaneously. Most commonly, these lesions occur on sun-exposed body parts like the head, neck, face, ears, or backs of hands. In some cases, squamous cell carcinomas can occur on the lips, in the mouth or on the genitalia.

Because squamous cell carcinomas have the ability to grow, invade locally and even spread to other areas of the body, early treatment is important. The first step is a thorough evaluation and then a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed under the microscope by a dermatopathologist, a variety of treatment modalities may be considered depending on the individual patient as well as the size and location of the tumor. Options include office based surgical excision under local anesthesia, Mohs surgery, cryosurgery (freezing), electrodessication and curettage and topical chemotherapeutics.

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