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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer, and is an uncontrolled growth of the squamous cells or outer layer of the skin. SCCs may occur on any area of the body but are most commonly found on sun exposed areas. Cumulative ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from the sun is the most common cause.

SCCs usually present as a red scaly patch or growth that often crusts or bleeds, and may be painful. Neglected SCCs invade the skin and underlying structures, and can be deadly if they metastasize. However, lesions identified and treated early can almost always be cured.

SCCs are usually suspected by their appearance, but a biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment depends upon the size, aggressiveness of the growth pattern, and location. Treatment is usually done in the office under local anesthesia and may consist of Mohs surgery, excisional surgery, or curettage (scraping, if small and superficial). Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are usually reserved for large, aggressive lesions or for patients that are not surgical candidates.