In general, the squamous cell carcinoma survival rate is very high—when detected early, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent. Even if squamous cell carcinoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes, the cancer may be effectively treated through a combination of surgery and radiation treatment. Nevertheless, a patient who has been treated for squamous cell carcinoma in the past always faces the possibility of a recurrence, so lifelong monitoring to increase the chance of early detection is highly encouraged.
What do cancer survival rates mean?
When learning about cancer survival rates, it’s important to keep in mind that these statistics are based on a very large and diverse group of people. Because no two people with squamous cell carcinoma are alike, the general survival rate cannot be used to predict a specific patient’s outcome. Additionally, survival rates are broad benchmarks. While useful as a baseline point of reference for physicians, this information is not detailed enough to reflect the different treatments people have had, nor is it recent enough to include the results of the latest breakthrough treatments now available to patients through clinical trials (and possibly even the current standard of care).
Factors affecting squamous cell carcinoma prognosis
There are a handful of factors that can affect a patient’s prognosis, including:
- Having a weakened immune system
- The location of the tumor—tumors found on the face, scalp, fingers and toes spread more easily, as do tumors that arise in an open wound
- If the cancer has recurred
- Larger tumors and those that are growing deep in the skin
Moffitt Cancer Center’s approach to squamous cell carcinoma
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty team of cancer experts takes a highly individualized approach to squamous cell carcinoma treatment. We offer the latest diagnostic and treatment options, and we work closely with each patient to offer customized guidance and help ensure the best possible outcome. For instance, there are many steps a patient can take to improve his or her own squamous cell carcinoma prognosis – regardless of the general survival rate – such as:
- Performing self-examinations from head to toe, including parts of the body that are not regularly exposed to UV rays, at least monthly, and promptly reporting any suspicious or unusual changes in skin texture or appearance to a physician
- Seeing a physician for a professional skin cancer examination yearly (or more often, if recommended due to individual risk factors)
- Avoiding exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays; while outdoors, preventive measures include seeking shade, wearing sunglasses and a brimmed hat, covering up with clothing and using a broad spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection (applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied immediately after swimming or sweating, or every two hours at minimum)
- Never using indoor tanning beds
If you’d like to learn more about the squamous cell carcinoma survival rate, the experts at Moffitt can put this information into the proper context for you and help you take appropriate steps to achieve the best possible outcome. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.