Squamous cell skin cancer is the second most common form of skin cancer in Canada. The first is basal cell carcinoma (BCC) skin cancer.
|Appearance||SCC presents as thick, red, scaly bumps or wart-like growth. It may also look like an open sore. SCC may grow quickly over a period of weeks.|
|Location||SCC typically appears on areas of the body most often exposed to sun including the head, neck, back of hands and legs.|
|Causes||The most frequent cause of SCC is sun exposure. People who are taking anti-rejection drugs also face an increased risk of SCC, as do those with a genetic predisposition to skin cancer.|
|Who is at risk?||AAs with many forms of skin cancer related to sun exposure, those with fair skin, people who work outdoors or those who have had a lifetime of exposure to the sun and without adequate protection, are at risk. Organ transplant or immunosuppressed people are also at risk.
Organ transplant or immunosuppressed patients are at higher risk.
|Treatment||The specific treatment for SCC will depend on its location and severity but may include cryotherapy (SCC in situ), topical cream (SCC in situ), surgery, Mohs surgery or radiation therapy.|
What happens after treatment?
Proper treatment is normally able to cure SCC. However, patients with SCC are at greater risk of further incidents of SCCs and also at greater risk of other skin cancers. Once a patient has been treated for SCC, a regular schedule of skin examinations is generally recommended.
Can SCCs be prevented?
Since the greatest cause of SCC is sun exposure, proper protection from the sun has great potential to reduce risk, especially as people age, for those who have fair skin and anyone who may be immunosuppressed.