Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Introduction:-

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer of the skin.  If detected early, this type of cancer does not cause much threat. Serious complications can result if squamous cell carcinoma is not diagnosed or treated early. It may then grow large in size and proliferate to the different parts of the body.

Causes & Risk Factors:-

In most cases, Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a result of prolonged exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) could be either from sunlight or from other sources such as lamps or tanning beds.

Signs and Symptoms:-

The tumour which occurs as a result of Squamous Cell Carcinoma may differ depending on a number of factors but in most cases they can be diagnosed by the following symptoms:

  • A solid red nodule may appear on the above mentioned regions which may even bleed at times
  • Flat lesion having a scaly crust may appear on the neck, hands, face, ears or arms
  • New ulceration may be observed on a pre-existing ulcer or scar
  • A raised patch red in color or an ulcerated sore in the genitals or the anus region
  • A flat patch white in color or an ulcer inside the oral cavity

Areas of the body that may be affected:-

Albeit Squamous Cell Carcinoma is often a result of over exposure to UV rays and are generally found on the exposed surfaces yet they can occur even on other areas of the body such as:

  • Mouth, hand, neck, ear, arm, face
  • Anus
  • Genitals of both sexes

Diagnosis:-

The growth of Squamous Cell Carcinoma takes place at a very slow pace and hence it is often difficult to diagnose the disease in its initial stage. The diagnosis can be even more difficult when it occurs on the regions of skin already affected by some kind of sun damage and can often be mistaken for other skin diseases such as actinic keratosis (a small, raised, rough area found on the skin after prolonged sun exposure). They also resemble pink or dark brown patches having rough and scaly appearance. Some actinic keratoses often transform into Squamous Cell Carcinoma after some years. In order to be on the safe side and leave no chances of the disease becoming cancerous, it is advisable to meet a doctor when you notice a spot or sore that remains unhealed even after a span of two months.

Treatment:-

Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma shows a discrepancy depending on the location of the cancer, size of the cancer, acuteness of the disease, regions infested with the cancer and the over-all health of the person. Some Squamous Cell Cancers require more complex treatment than others.

Squamous Cell Cancer is often treated by the following procedures:

  • Excision: The skin cancer is cut out surgically and the skin is later stitched together.
  • Electrodessication and Curettage: The skin cancer cells are scraped away and with the help of electricity, even minute traces of the cancer that remains are killed. This method is generally employed for skin cancers which are neither very deep nor very large.
  • Cryosurgery: extremely low temperature such as freezing is used to kill the cancer cells.
  • Medication: skin creams which are medicated are used to treat superficial skin cells cancer.
  • Photodynamic therapy: In this method, the cancer cells are eradicated with the help of powerful beam of light.

Prevention:-

Since most forms of skin cancer are caused due to the harmful UV rays of the sun, the best preventive measure is to avoid them.  Avoiding the UV rays of the sun will not only act as a preventive measure against Squamous Cell Carcinoma but most other forms of skin cancer too. Besides, using sun screen could also act as an integral part of safety program against the UV rays of the sun.


About Dr. Debraj Shome

Debraj Shome-2
Debraj Shome, MD, DO, DNB, FRCS (Glasgow), FICO (USA), MNAMS, MBA (Healthcare Management, Vanderbilt University, USA), is Consultant Facial Plastic Surgeon, Oculoplastic Surgeon & Cosmetic Surgeon at Nova Specialty Surgery, Mumbai, India..Read more

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