Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (S.C.C.) is the second most common form of skin cancer. If left untreated, S.C.C.s have the ability to spread to other organs of the body (metastasise), although this is rare. S.C.C.s can disfigure skin, especially on the face, therefore early recognition and treatment are important.

What are the early warning signs?

If you develop a skin lesion or sore that fails to heal within 4 – 6 weeks and has two or more of the following features SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE:

A patch of skin that feels scaly, bleeds, or develops a crust. The patch may get bigger over a period of time and form a sore which does not heal.

S.C.C.s can look like a red scaly irregular patch on the skin which may be itchy or painful but sometimes there is nothing uncomfortable about the spot but it does not heal or fade.

An area of thickened skin or sore on the lip that does not heal and sometimes bleeds.

A skin growth that looks like a wart. These can appear flesh-coloured pink or whitish and bleed occasionally.

A new ulceration or raised area on a pre-existing scar or ulcer.

How are S.C.Cs Treated?

S.C.C.s are usually treated by surgery and sometimes radiotherapy. Treatment is usually carried out on an outpatient basis, with minimum disruption to your daily routine. All of these treatments aim to cure. The most appropriate form of treatment depends on the size, site, number and depth of the tumour. Your G.P or specialist doctor will be able to advise you on treatments available.

Remember – Squamous cell carcinomas are curable if treated early. Recognise the warning signs.
Last updated 2012

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