People who have had squamous cell carcinoma are advised to be watchful for a potential recurrence. That’s because individuals who were diagnosed and treated for a squamous cell skin lesion have an increased risk of developing a second lesion in the same location or a nearby skin area. Most recurrent lesions develop within two years after the completion of treatment to remove or destroy the initial cancer. However, there is no time limit for a recurrence. For this reason, it is especially important for people who have had squamous cell carcinoma in the past to have full-body skin cancer examinations performed by a physician on a regular basis for the rest of their lives. In addition to avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and indoor tanning beds, at-risk individuals should constantly be on the lookout for changes in skin texture or appearance and promptly discuss any concerns with a physician.
Through extensive research studies, scientists have identified several factors that can influence the likelihood of squamous cell carcinoma recurrence. These include:
- The location of the initial lesion – Squamous cell carcinomas that develop on the ears, nose and lips are particularly prone to recurrence and should be monitored carefully after treatment.
- Actinic keratoses – These crusty skin growths result from damage caused by exposure to UV radiation. Left untreated, these precancerous lesions can progress and develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
- Genetics – Certain hereditary factors can increase an individual’s risk of developing many forms of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, particularly on the head and neck.
The oncologists and other medical professionals in the Cutaneous Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center understand that the possibility of recurrence is a concern of many former skin cancer patients. To help provide peace of mind for survivors and at-risk individuals, we can provide lifelong dermatologic surveillance that incorporates the latest techniques for skin examination and biopsy. Our patients can also benefit from our support groups and supportive care services, such as yoga and massage, which can help relieve stress and promote general well-being.
If you are concerned about a squamous cell carcinoma recurrence, the experts at Moffitt can provide individualized advice and preventive strategies to help reduce your risk, along with advanced diagnostic tests to ensure early detection and prompt treatment. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.