Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous Cell Carcinomas are the second most common form of skin cancer in Canada. Chronic ultraviolet light exposure is the most common reason for development of this skin cancer. These cancers may evolve from precancerous spots known as an actinic keratosis.
SCC’s often arise on the skin as tender, red, scaly bumps that can open and bleed. At times they can be very thick and wart-like. They are most commonly found on sun exposed skin such as the head and neck, the extremities, including the backs of the hands. Squamous cell carcinomas on the ears and the lips tend to be more aggressive and have a higher risk for spread. Treatment of squamous cell carcinomas should not be delayed as they do have a risk of rapidly enlarging and metastasizing (spreading) which can result in significant damage to surrounding tissues and can even be fatal.
Identifying and treating SCC’s early is key. If detected early, surgical removal and, at times, radiation are used.