Squamous Cell Carcinoma

If you notice a persistent sore that will not heal, a crusted firm and tender skin bump, a horn-shaped growth, or a sore that develops within a scar, you may be dealing with a local skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. This is a common type of skin cancer that is treatable by a board-certified dermatologist, especially when you receive an early diagnosis. If you spend a lot of time outdoors or have used indoor tanning equipment in the past, you will have an increased risk of developing skin cancer such as squamous cell carcinoma. At Arlington Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists have diagnosed thousands of squamous cell carcinomas and can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment options.

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What Causes Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is primarily caused by damage to your skin cells by chronic ultraviolet (UV) light. This can occur over time due to either excessive exposure to natural sunlight or tanning bed use.

Who Gets Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

A case of an invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

You are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma if you have the following risk factors:

  • UV-damaged skin due to sun exposure or indoor tanning
  • Fair skin, blond or red hair, and/or light-colored eyes
  • History of sunburns, especially if they caused blisters
  • History of actinic keratoses
  • History of HPV infection 
  • Living in a sunny climate or high altitude
  • A previous skin cancer diagnosis
  • Weakened immune system due to a medical condition or certain medications

How Can I Prevent Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Avoiding excess sun or UV light exposure is the most important way to avoid squamous cell carcinoma. To protect your skin, follow these steps:

  • Routinely apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  • Seek shade whenever possible
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Perform regular skin self-exams

Why Treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma can be easily treated by a dermatologist, especially when it is detected early. If it is detected or treated too late, it can be very dangerous to your overall health as it can spread to other parts of your body. If you notice signs of squamous cell carcinoma, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible for your best possible treatment options and results. 

Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include:

  • Rough, scaly persistent painful patch or bump 
  • Open sores that do not heal
  • Firm dome-shaped or horn-shaped growths
  • Sores that develop within scars
  • Wart-like growths 

How Can I Treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

A case of an invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

Your dermatologist will first diagnose squamous cell carcinoma typically after a careful physical exam, followed by a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. After appropriate diagnosis, the squamous cell carcinoma can be treated by using one of the following methods, depending on the type and stage of the squamous cell carcinoma:

  • Excision
  • Mohs surgery
  • Curettage
  • Radiation therapy

Schedule an Appointment 

If you have a squamous cell carcinoma or are concerned that you may be developing one, it is important to seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible. Squamous cell carcinoma is often easily treated but can spread if it is not addressed early, resulting in further health complications. 

To schedule an appointment at Arlington Dermatology, please call our office or request an appointment online.