Squamous cell carcinoma: Causes, symptoms and treatments

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the skin.. In fact, squamous cells are found in many tissues of the body besides the skin. For example, in the lungs or throat.

However, we will be referring to squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in this article. It is a type of malignant tumor that tends to grow slowly but can go deep and invade other structures.

In most cases it occurs in relation to sun exposure. This implies that its prevention is possible.

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma (or cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma) It is the second most common form of skin cancer. This is like a article by Skin Cancer Foundation. It is formed by the squamous cells that are part of the middle and outer layer of the skin.

These cells are flattened and are constantly renewing. In this way, dead cells are removed from the skin while new ones are formed. Carcinoma occurs when these cells begin to proliferate uncontrollably.

The problem is that they have malignant potential and can invade other structures.. In most cases, this cancer is not fatal. However, it can damage nearby tissue or metastasize.

Some Education estimates that the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma in Spain is 38.16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Other common forms of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin disease
Sometimes the symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma can be varied and difficult to identify.

In the case of skin cancer, as explained by art Mayo Clinic specialists, the lesion appears in areas exposed to the sun. For example, the lips, face or scalp. It can be a flat sore with a crusty surface or a firm, red lump.

It can also present as a non-healing ulcer or a raised area in a scar. In the mouth, it may look like a rough patch or a reddish sore.

Studies state that the evolution of skin lesions varies from months to years, with a slow and progressive growth that gradually invades healthy tissue.

What can cause it?

Most cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas are related to sun exposure. Actually, are related to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. That’s why they’re also more common in people who use tanning lamps or tanning beds.

As explained by A article of Association of the American Academy of Dermatology, most of those affected have fair skin. Additionally, they have a history of not protecting their skin with clothing or products for this purpose.

However, there are other cases of squamous cell carcinoma that appear on areas of the skin that aren’t usually exposed to the sun. Here because Indicates the existence of other factors influencing its development. For example, immune diseases.

Risk factors

Having fair skin increases the risk of this cancer. Also, people with light eyes and hair or with many freckles are usually more prone to suffer from it. Especially if they are prone to sunburn.

In fact, having had many sunburns in childhood appears to greatly increase the risk. The same is true if there have been other precancerous lesions on the skin. For example, age spots and actinic keratoses.

Research estimates that this type of skin cancer is 2 to 3 times more common in men and occurs more often in people over the age of 50. Other risk factors include chronic skin infections and inflammations.

Xeroderma pigmentosa is a rare disease that also increases the likelihood of cancer. It is a pathology that causes extreme sensitivity to sunlight. That is why the damage done to the skin is more serious.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma requires a thorough physical exam.. Ideally, a dermatologist should examine the lesion. In addition, the doctor must know all the patient’s history.

However, more tests are needed to reach an accurate diagnosis. Skin biopsy is the most useful. It consists of removing part or all of the lesion to examine it in the laboratory.

From the biopsy data, squamous cell carcinoma can be identified and classified. The new classification system American Joint Committee on Cancer takes into account tumor size, invasion of deep structures, spread to lymph nodes, and metastases to other organs.

Treatments available for squamous cell carcinoma

Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma varies.. It depends on the size of the tumor, its location or if it invades any structure.

Treatment if the carcinoma is small

Most cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the early stages. This allows you to remove them with minimally invasive and local methods. Especially if the cancer has little or no spread.

One of the most used therapies is the laser. It is useful when the lesion is very superficial. It avoids damage to the surrounding tissue and leaves very few scars.

Another of the simpler techniques is liquid nitrogen ablation. It also receives the name of cryosurgery. It is a simple technique that can also be performed in the dermatologist’s office.

Photodynamic therapy appears to be helpful in these cases. On the other hand, curettage and electrodrying allow the base of the tumor to be removed and sealed.

Treatments for larger tumors

When squamous cell carcinoma is more extensive or deeper, more invasive measures are needed. Surgery is the most used approach. It consists in removing the injured skin, taking care to leave margins free from the tumour.

However, there are currently other alternatives. One of these is the intervention of Mohs. It is a procedure that removes cancerous tissue in a very specific way, such as in layers. At the same time, samples are sent to the laboratory to check whether tumor-free tissue has been achieved.

Radiation therapy is also frequently used. Especially in cases where it is believed that there is a high risk of recurrence.

Radiotherapy for skin cancer.
Radiation therapy for skin cancer is reserved for patients who are prone to recurrence.

Treatment of disseminated squamous cell carcinoma

When we talk about spread we’re referring to that the cancer has spread to other areas of the bodybeyond the skin. In these cases, limited surgical techniques are not curative.

This is why systemic treatments are needed. One of the therapeutic modalities is chemotherapy. Nowadays, drugs directed specifically against the tumor can also be used.

Can it be prevented?

Squamous cell carcinoma is usually related to ultraviolet radiation. That is why there are many ways that can help prevent its appearance.

The ideal is to keep the skin protected from the sunespecially during the hottest hours of the day. At times when there is exposure, you should always use sunscreen. In fact, it is recommended all year round, regardless of the season.

Also, tanning beds should be avoided. Another of the fundamental pillars of prevention is the frequent examination of the skin. Especially if you have risk factors, like fair skin.

The most important thing is to always consult a specialist before any abnormal injury. Non-healing wounds, sores, or ulcers should be examined. The same happens with reddish nodules or warts.

The post Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments first appeared in research-school.



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