Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer affecting approximately 700,000 new patients in the US every year.
Squamous cell carcinomas are a serious form of skin cancer. Like melanomas, they have the potential to spread. Squamous cell carcinomas usually appear on sun-exposed parts of the body – the face, lips, ears, forearms, backs of the hands, and head of balding men. It is mainly older people who are affected, and more often men than women. It may occur in areas of rough, scaly lesions caused by sun damage called solar keratoses or actinic keratoses. Bowen’s disease is an early – pre-malignant – form of squamous cell carcinoma, which is more common in elderly females on the legs.
Squamous cell carcinomas may have different appearances:
- A solitary, scaly nodule
- An enlarged, firm tumor on the skin
- A small, tender wound that will not heal normally
The tumor may develop slowly but can then begin to grow rapidly. The larger it grows, the higher the potential to spread (form metastases). The most severe and high-risk forms of squamous cell carcinoma are those that grow close to the body orifices like the mouth, eyes, ears, rectum, and vagina.