Name: Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Frequency: Makes up about 20% of all skin cancers
Cure Rate: Close to 100% with early detection and proper treatment
About: Squamous Cell Carcinoma occurs on areas that have been exposed to the sun or burned and is particularly prevalent on chronically sun-exposed areas such as the head and neck, arm, back of the hand and leg. Areas to be particularly careful to check for this cancer include the rim of the ear and the lip since the cancer can be more aggressive at these locations.
What to Look For:
- Squamous cell skin cancers appear as thickened, red scaly bumps or may look like wart-like growth.
- They may also look like an open sore or crusted skin.
Image courtesy of Canadian Dermatology Association
What to Do:
- Book an appointment with your family doctor. If there is anything unusual, some family physicians will do a biopsy or treat it first, some will refer to a dermatologist.
- Dermatologists are skin specialists. If the area looks suspicious, the dermatologist will conduct a biopsy to see if there are any abnormal cells.
How It’s Treated:
Treatment options depend on the tumour (size, location etc.) and the patient's own health status
- Simple excision
- Electrodessication and curettage
- Mohs micrographic surgery
- Topical chemotherapy with fluorouracil
- Radiation therapy
- A clinical trial of biologic therapy