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Squamous Cell Carcinoma Screening
Squamous cell carcinoma can be diagnosed early, and regular screening exams are recommended to improve the likelihood of detecting lesions before they have a chance to spread. Squamous cell carcinomas that are promptly diagnosed and treated are almost always curable; as a result, routine screenings are an extremely valuable tool.
Generally speaking, professional skin cancer screenings are advisable for all individuals at least once per year (more often for people with several known risk factors). These screenings are designed to check for the presence of any type of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.
In addition to yearly professional screenings, self-screenings are also advisable. Although not a substitute for professional screening sessions, self-screenings should be performed to check for signs of squamous cell carcinoma (or other nonmelanoma skin cancers) on a monthly basis. Self-screenings should consist of a thorough inspection of the entire surface of the skin, including the:
- Face, neck and ears
- Shoulders, arms and hands
- Feet, including the soles and the areas between the toes
- Back (with the assistance of a mirror)
If a self-checkup reveals the presence of an abnormal bump, red patch or other unusual lesion, the abnormality should immediately be brought to the attention of a dermatologist or other medical professional. Although squamous cell carcinomas are slow to spread, delaying diagnosis and treatment can potentially give undiagnosed cancer an opportunity to metastasize. In the event that cancer is present, quick action can allow a treatment team to remove cancerous cells while maximizing a patient’s cosmetic outcome and quality of life.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we diagnose and treat all types and stages of skin cancer. We also offer regular skin cancer screenings through our mobile Mole Patrol®, which was established in 1996 as part of our commitment to early detection and prevention.