Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Everything you need to know.

The incidence of all types of skin cancer has increased dramatically. At Stratum Clinics, we are experts in diagnosing and treating cancer. Whether it be treated by topical therapy, radiotherapy or plastic surgery, our consultants will provide you with the best possible care. Please see before and after images below of skin cancer treated surgically.

Alternative names: SCC, non-melanoma skin cancer

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What causes Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second commonest form of skin cancer and accounts for around 10% of skin cancer in the UK. It is a malignant tumour affecting the epidermis at the skin surface. SCC is classified by its level of ‘differentiation’ (i.e. how abnormal the cells and tumour structure appear under the microscope). Tumours can be well, moderately or poorly differentiated.

The rate of growth and chance of spread of SCC depends on the differentiation the tumour exhibits with well-differentiated tumours being less aggressive than poorly-differentiated ones. The earlier your skin cancer is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is to leave you with scarring.

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Basal Cell Carcinoma

What are the symptoms/types of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous carcinomas tend to look like patches or lumps on the skin with a scaly surface (see images). They tend to grow in size over time. They may have a crater-like appearance and ulcerate. Sometimes they can discharge foul-smelling yellow keratin, similar to pus.

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Squamous cell carcinoma near hairline

What Squamous Cell Carcinoma treatments are available?

Squamous carcinomas can be treated with surgical excision or localised radiotherapy. The earlier your squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed and treated, the less the cosmetic disfigurement and the less chance of recurrence or spread.

For more information on squamous cell carcinoma, please see the British Association of Dermatologists website SCC advice leaflet.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma treatments we offer include:

  • Surgical excisions

  • Localised radiotherapy

Frequently asked questions

How might it affect me?

The rate of growth and chance of spread of squamous cell carcinoma depends on the differentiation:

  • Well differentiated SCC tend to grow slowly with a very low chance of spreading
  • Moderately differentiated SCC have a slightly higher rate of growth and chance of spreading than well differentiated tumours
  • Poorly differentiated SCC often grow rapidly and are highly likely to spread if left untreated

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