A nonmelanoma type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma usually occurs on skin frequently exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight or other types of ultraviolet radiation. The skin cancer can occur on any part of the body, but generally affects areas of the face, arms, hands, neck or ears. It usually appears as a bump that is covered in a scaly, red patch of skin. Over time, the bump will enlarge. Squamous cell carcinoma can also present itself as a sore that does not heal.
Squamous cell carcinoma usually affects fair-skinned people with blonde or red hair. Eye color appears to also indicate a propensity for the disorder; blue and green eyed people suffer from the disorder more frequently than other eye colors. The skin cancer generally occurs in people over the age of 40 and peaks in frequency at about 66 years of age. Males tend to suffer from the cancer from more frequently than females. People who have had an excessive number of x-rays or been exposed to certain chemicals can also develop squamous cell carcinoma. Exposure to arsenic from a water source also appears to raise the likelihood of developing the skin cancer.
A physician will usually exam any suspicious areas of the skin that he feels may suffer from squamous cell carcinoma. The physician may take a biopsy of the area to determine if it is malignant. Once a malignancy has been diagnosed, a treatment plan will be outlined.
Several treatment options exist.
Surgical Removal: The physician will cut away the lesion and stitch up the wound.
Scraping: The lesion is scraped away a layer a time. The afflicted area will also undergo electrical therapy to help ensure that the entire malignancy is gone.
Topical: Topical creams that contain imiquimod or fluorouracil are often used to remove superficial lesions.
Mohs Surgery: One of the most effective treatment options is Mohs surgery. It will remove 99 percent of most squamous cell carcinomas. A form of microscopic surgery, the dermatologist will remove all areas of the tumor without damaging healthy tissue. The procedure significantly reduces the incidences of scarring.
Residents of Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills can get squamous cell carcinoma treatment in Los Angeles area. An intricate surgical procedure, the Los Angeles dermatologist must be a competent, highly-skilled surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon to successfully use Mohs surgery to treat malignancies.