Skin Cancer - Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. It occurs when the squamous cells in the skin grow abnormally and out of control. Exposure from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the most frequent cause of squamous cell carcinoma.
There are several types of squamous cell carcinomas, and it has many different appearances. Squamous cell carcinoma is a relatively slow growing type of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma needs to be treated. If detected and treated early, it has a very good cure rate. However, untreated or aggressive types of squamous cell carcinoma can cause significant disfigurement, spread to other parts of the body, and cause death.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing squamous cell carcinoma, although some people that experience this skin cancer may not have any risk factors. People with all of the risk factors may never develop squamous cell carcinoma; however, the likelihood increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma:
_____ People with light colored skin (Caucasians), blue eyes, green eyes, gray eyes, blond hair, or red hair have an increased risk for developing skin cancer. However, people with darker complexions and dark hair may get skin cancer as well, but they have a lower risk.
_____ People that spend a lot of time in the sun, such as construction workers, farmers, fishermen, lifeguards, sunbathers, and outdoor sport enthusiasts have an increased risk for skin cancer.
_____ Receiving multiple severe sunburns in childhood or as a teenager is a big risk factor for developing skin cancer.
_____ People that have had skin cancer before are at risk for developing skin cancer again.
_____ Cigarette smoking can contribute to skin cancer. The tar in cigarettes is a known cancer causing agent.
_____ Exposure to cancer causing chemical agents, such as oils, tars, and arsenic (found in some herbicides) is associated with an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma.
_____ Chronically injured skin is a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma.
_____ People with suppressed immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients or people that have AIDS, have an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma.
_____ Not wearing a sunblock for UV rays A and B while in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer.
_____ Your risk for squamous cell carcinoma increases with age. Most cases develop in people that are middle aged or elderly, but it certainly can develop in younger people.
_____ People that sunburn easily are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer.
_____ People with multiple moles have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
_____ People with freckled skin have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
_____ Artificial tanning lights used in tanning booths, beds, and lamps have harmful UV rays and increase the risk of skin cancer.
_____ Some people have a genetic predisposition to squamous skin cancer.
_____ Overexposure to X-rays or other forms of radiation increases the risk of skin cancer.
_____ People with rare genetic disorders, such as nevoid carcinoma syndrome, xeroderma pigmentosum, or Bazex syndrome, have an increased risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma.
_____ People with the human papilloma virus (HPV) carry an increased potential for developing squamous cell carcinoma.
_____ People that received X-ray treatment for acne in the 1950s have a higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma.
_____ Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that can develop into squamous cell carcinoma. Actinic keratosis results from overexposure to the sun. It looks like rough dry patches on the skin. Your doctor should remove actinic keratosis.
_____ People treated with Psoralen and ultraviolet light for chronic psoriasis have an increased chance of developing squamous cell carcinoma and other types of skin cancer.
Researchers are testing medications to treat squamous cell carcinoma. Scientists have learned how UV light causes normal cells to become cancerous. They are using this knowledge to find ways to treat skin cancer.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.