Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
WHY IS MY SKIN IMPORTANT?
Did you know that your skin is actually a living organ? In fact, it is the largest organ on your entire body! Not only does it cover and protect all internal organs, but it serves as a germ and bacteria barrier from your environment. Your skin produces vitamin D for the rest of your body. It also helps keep you hydrated as well as control your body temperature. Your skin is your body’s first source of protection from the sun’s UV rays.
HOW COMMON IS SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA SKIN CANCER?
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer diagnosed each year. It’s normally found on areas of the body damaged by UV rays from overexposure to the sun or tanning beds.
WHAT IS SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)?
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) can be identified as an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells. These skin cells make up most of the epidermis. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most diagnosed type of skin cancer. SCCs tend to appear on the skin as scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths (often having a small depression at the center of the growth), or warts they tend to crust or bleed. SCCs can become disfiguring and sometimes deadly if left untreated and ignored. The main cause of SCCs are accumulative ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure over the course of a lifetime. This is a common skin cancer for those tan due to the UV produced by tanning beds.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Mohs Micrographic Surgery: Using a scalpel, a trained surgeon removes a very thin layer of tissue of the SCC. This layer is sectioned and thoroughly checked under a microscope for cancer cells. If cancer is still present, the procedure is repeated on the corresponding area of the body still containing cancerous cells until the last layer viewed under the microscope is cancer-free. Mohs surgery saves the most amount of surrounding healthy tissue and has the highest success rate resulting in fewer cancer re-occurrences. After removal, the wound may be allowed to heal naturally.
Systemic Chemotherapy: For squamous cell carcinoma that has spread, chemo drugs such as cisplatin, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), topotecan, and etoposide might be used. These drugs are given into a vein (intravenously), usually once every few weeks. They can often slow the spread of these cancers and relieve some symptoms. In some cases, they may shrink tumors enough so that other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy can be used.