What Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma ?
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Squamous cell carcinoma, also known as SCC, SqCC and Squamous cell cancer is one of the major kinds of skin cancer. It consists of an uncontrolled and rapid growth of cells in the squamous epithelial tissue. Often, they appear like an elevated growth, scaly red patch or warts which may either bleed or crust.
What Are The Symptoms of Squamous cell carcinoma?
Symptoms of this disease depend upon the organ and the sun-exposed area involved. Here is a list of some common symptoms of Squamous cell carcinoma:
- Slow growing ulcer
- Tumor bleeds intermittently (especially near or on the lip area)
- Flat red patch
- Flat skin outgrowth which looks slightly different from your normal skin
- Skin appearing bumped, thick, rough and scaly
- Lip sores that heal slowly
- Moles changing appearance and size untimely
- Immune deficiency
- Internal and external lumps
- Worsening of skin lesion is unrecognizable
Hence, it is important to consult a doctor if you see any abnormality on your skin.
What Are The Causes Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
- Long -time exposure to sunlight: Most of the squamous cell cancer is due to unprotected and regular exposure to sunlight and UV rays. Apart from UV rays, tanning beds are another man-made source.
- Tobacco: It is generally known that smoking tobacco gives rise to various cancers that includes squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell cancer. In addition, use of tobacco weakens your immune system.
- Exposure to tar: Tar is used as a medication to certain skin problems. On the contrary, excess use promotes irritation to the skin and results in the development of various skin cancers including SCC.
- Arsenic: Water that includes arsenic is hazardous to your genes as it damages the DNA and develops several cancers. Also, squamous cell carcinoma is caused by drinking water that is infected by insecticides and pesticides.
- Sore or ulcer: Unhealed ulcer or sore on the skin for more than a couple of years can also increase the risk of development of cancerous cells in the squamous tissue.
- Exposure to heat: Not only UV rays, squamous cell carcinoma is also caused by long-time exposure to heat, especially fire. People working near heat are more prone to squamous cell skin cancer.
- Infection of HPV: Infection of Human papillomavirus (HPV) can also result in this disease as the virus directly poisons the genes involved in the making of the squamous cell.
- Other causes: Having an excess of X-rays can develop the risk of this nonmelanoma skin cancer.
What Are The Complications Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
- Skin Abscess: Skin abscess is generally called boil which is full of pus and its growth can be seen anywhere on the body. The beginning of skin cancer can happen from skin abscess.
- Cellulitis: Starting from a small patch, squamous cell carcinoma can give rise to a condition like cellulitis. Moreover, the infected area is painful and gives a burning sensation.
- Expansion of cancer: Be it any cancer, its expansion is the most common complications studied. Additionally, squamous cell carcinoma can infect any other internal or external organ and further spread it.
- Hair loss: As the cancerous cells affect the protein building cells, they degenerate all the protein made fibers including hair. That is why hair loss is commonly seen in cancer patients.
- Tumor: Squamous cell carcinoma can further spread tumor all around your body and result in the damage to your skin.
- Other complications: Squamous cell carcinoma can further lead to rashes on the skin, mouth sores, constipation, low white blood cells count, low platelet count, headaches, nausea, diarrhea and difficulty in swallowing.
How is Squamous Cell Carcinoma Diagnosed?
- Physical diagnosis: Physical diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma is done by the doctor, where he asks about your health history and examines further.
- Tissue testing: In this method, the doctor takes a tissue from the infected area which includes skin biopsy (used to detect a variety of skin cancers) and is taken under examination to the lab.
- Digital photography: This imaging technique either focuses on the abnormal patch or observes the entire body and monitors the changes shown by the skin.
- Dermoscopy: To study the layers of the skin below the top, dermoscopy is used in which a hand-held instrument does the required.
- Confocal microscopy: Confocal microscopy is an investigational tactic which helps in determining the skin cancer at a cellular level.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatments
Treatment for squamous cell carcinoma is different based on the type of infection and its extension and other health factors.
- Excision: The infected area is cut out and further the skin is stitched.
- Electrodesiccation and curettage: Rasping away all the infected cancer cells and further killing them by using electricity if any is left out. This treatment is done in those cases where the infection is not very massive and deep.
- Cryosurgery: In this treatment, the squamous cancer cells are killed by freezing them first.
- Medication: Certain medicines (skin creams) which include imiquimod and 5- fluorouracil as these creams allow the local immune cells destroy the cancer cells. Moreover, these medications can be applied to the diseased areas that are not very deep.
- Mohs surgery: This treatment is done mainly on the face (usually on the nose and ears). However, the treatment involves removal of the skin layers until there is no cancer cell left out.
- Photodynamic therapy: The treatment involves the killing of cancer cells using light. This therapy is mainly used in internal skin cancer cases.
- Radiation: Radiation therapy is needed if the skin cell cannot be treated by surgery. This happens when the infection reaches to the lymph or nodes. ESSB (Electronic Skin Surface Brachytherapy) is one of the newly invented radiation treatments that treats the tumors that are not too deep.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Pictures