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Close-up photo of a basal cell carcinoma showing pink, shiny surface and irregular blood vessels

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in diagnosing and treating squamous cell carcinoma. He is highly skilled at using a dermatoscope to provide earlier diagnosis for SCC and other skin cancers. He has performed thousands of skin surgeries and takes great care to properly treat the cancer while working to maintain an excellent cosmetic result.  If you have any growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

What is a squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma or SCC, is the second most common form of skin cancer. Approximately 1.8 million Americans are diagnosed with SCC every year. They typically appear as hard, scaly growths on a pink base and are usually painful to the touch. 

What causes squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is primarily due to sun or ultraviolet light exposure. Patients with fair skin are much more prone to developing SCC than other types of skin cancer. Family history of SCC is not a significant risk factor other than the fact that you inherit your skin type from you parents. Also, to a large degree your sun exposure habits are influenced by your parents, at least until adulthood. 

How is a squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a SCC is best done by a trained skin specialist such as a dermatologist. A dermatologist will use a dermatoscope to examine the skin. This is a specialized instrument used to visualize features in the deeper layers of the skin. If concerning features are seen, the dermatologist will recommend performing a biopsy where a sample of skin is removed and sent to be examined under the microscope. 

How is squamous cell carcinoma treated?

Once a diagnosis is established, your dermatologist will help you decide on a treatment plan. There are multiple subtypes of SCC: Squamous cell carcinoma in situ (aka Bowen'sdisease) and invasive squamous cell carcinoma are the main subtypes. A squamous cell carcinoma in situ is the least aggressive type. "In situ" means the cancer has not invade into the deeper layers of the skin and is only found at the surface. This type of cancer can be treated with a simple procedure called a curettage and destruction where the cancer is removed from the surface with a sharp curette. Alternatively chemotherapy creams can be used. Invasive SCC is typically removed by an excision where the cancer is cut out going deep into the fat, and the resulting wound is then stitched back together. For SCC that occurs on the face or in other areas with limited skin mobility, a specialized procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery is usually performed.  

Is squamous cell carcinoma dangerous?

A squamous cell carcinoma is more dangerous than a basal cell carcinoma, but SCC still rarely metastasizes and causes death. Approximately 4% or these cancers will spread to other parts of the body and around 15,000 patients will die of SCC in the U.S. each year. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to preventing metastasis and death. 

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in diagnosing and treating squamous cell carcinoma. He is highly skilled at using a dermatoscope to provide earlier diagnosis for SCC and other skin cancers. He has performed thousands of skin surgeries and takes great care to properly treat the cancer while working to maintain an excellent cosmetic result.  If you have any growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.