Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. As the name suggests, this type of cancer develops in the squamous cells, which are found in the top layers of the skin. Usually, squamous cell carcinomas look like small, scaly red patches or open sores, although they can also appear as small, raised nodules that crust or bleed.
Most squamous cell carcinomas develop in parts of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun, such as the neck, hands, arms, lips, ears and face. That’s because UV exposure is the primary risk factor for this type of cancer. However, some squamous cell carcinomas develop on the genitals or the inside of the mouth.
While squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body, it is usually very responsive to treatment. When detected and treated early, squamous cell carcinomas (together with basal cell carcinomas, the other type of nonmelanoma skin cancer) have a survival rate of more than 95 percent.
Prevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Preventing squamous cell carcinoma is possible; all you have to do is maintain smart tactics when you spend time outdoors. This includes:
- Wearing sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days
- Avoiding tanning beds
- Getting regular skin checkups with a dermatologist
- Wearing protective clothing, broad-brimmed hats, and sunglasses
- Planning outdoor activities when the sun isn’t as intense, like the early morning or evening hours
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Approach to Squamous Cell Carcinoma
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive, multispecialty approach to diagnosing and treating squamous cell carcinoma. Our Cutaneous Oncology Program makes it possible for patients to consult with a number of specialists in a single location. Our team consists of:
- Surgical oncologists
- Plastic surgeons
- Radiation oncologists
- Supportive care providers
- Medical oncologists
Because these providers work exclusively toward the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, they have extensive experience and can provide each patient with an effective, individualized treatment plan. At Moffitt, we offer a complete range of treatments for squamous cell carcinoma, from Mohs micrographic surgery (offered in conjunction with the USF Department of Dermatology) to targeted radiation therapy. Cryotherapy and dermabrasion are also options available to our patients. We individualize each patient’s treatment plan to reflect his or her specific diagnosis and personal preferences, while taking care to consider aesthetic outcomes and important factors related to quality of life.