Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment in Peoria, AZ

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. There are more than 250,000 new cases diagnosed in the US every year. Arizona is the number one location in the US for skin cancer diagnosis. This type of cancer arises from the cells that make up the top layer of the skin called squamous cells.

As with most cancers, when identified and treated early, most SCC's are not serious. SCC's are usually localized and treated successfully. Tumors that are left untreated can grow larger. If a tumor is very large and connected to a lot of supportive tissue, that supportive tissue must be removed along with the tumor. The area treated may no longer look or function as it did before. This can result in the loss of eye, nose or ear for example. While the largest percentage of SCC's are localized and do not spread to other organs, there is a small percentage of SCC's that do spread to other organs and can become life threatening.

More aggressive types of SCC's, typically those on the lips and ears, or those left untreated can continue to grow and spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, which according to the AAD results in approximately 2,500 deaths in the US each year.

SCC's arise from AK's (Actinic Keratosis). UV light exposure increases the risk of getting skin cancers of all types. Fair skinned people are at higher risk for skin cancer, however, anyone can get skin cancer. People who have had an organ transplant are also at an increased risk. SCC's are usually found on sun-exposed area such as: face, scalp, arms, chest, and back, however it can occur anywhere on the body.

Treatment for SCC

  • Curettage : is a process in which the lesion is scrapped off the skin and the electrocartery is then used to destroy any remaining cancer cells and stop any bleeding.
  • Radiation : can be used on lesions that might require difficult or extensive surgery or where cosmetic outcomes might be less than desirable. Examples might be: the eyelids, nose, or ears. Radiation therapy might be a good option for hard-to-treat areas or for patients that might not be able to tolerate a traditional surgery due to poor health.
  • Excision : is the removal of the lesion that includes a margin of tissue, which is then closed with sutures. The tissue is then sent to a qualified lab where the tissue is processed and read under a microscope by a pathologist who is qualified to read and diagnose such lesions.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery : is a specialized type of surgery that involves removing the lesion in stages, one layer at a time. A surgeon that is specialized in the Mohs technique will examine the tissue under a microscope and determine when the cancer is completely removed. This procedure allows for the surgeon to remove less healthy tissue than traditional excisions. This procedure has the lowest recurrence rates of all skin cancer treatment methods. However, not all skin cancers can be treated with Mohs; it is dependent on the size, depth, and location of the lesion.
  • Topical drug treatments : Imiquimod is a medication that can be applied to the lesion to shrink, or in some cases destroy, the BCC.
  • Cryosurgery : is a process by which the lesion is frozen using Liquid Nitrogen to kill the cancerous tissue

For More Information:

American Academy of Dermatology
Telephone: (888)462-3376

American Cancer Society
Telephone: (800)227-2345

Skin Cancer Foundation
Telephone: (800)754-6490

National Cancer Institute
Telephone: (800) 422-6237