Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Welcome to White Pebble Dermatology practice in Columbia, Maryland, and Highland, Maryland. Our team of dermatology specialists is dedicated to helping our patients achieve healthy, clear skin. One of the most serious skin conditions we treat is squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common type of skin cancer.
What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the squamous cells, which are the flat cells that make up the top layer of the skin. It usually develops in areas that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, lips, neck, arms, and legs. However, it can also occur in areas that are not exposed to the sun, such as the genitals or inside the mouth.
Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a red, scaly patch or bump that doesn't heal and can grow in size over time. It may also bleed or crust over. If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes and internal organs.
Diagnosis of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
If you notice any unusual changes in your skin, such as a new growth or a sore that doesn't heal, it's important to see a dermatologist for an evaluation. To diagnose squamous cell carcinoma, our dermatology specialists will perform a thorough skin examination and may also perform a biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of the affected skin for laboratory analysis.
Treatment Options for Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The treatment for squamous cell carcinoma depends on the location, size, and depth of the cancer. Our team of dermatology specialists will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs and goals.
Treatment options may include:
Surgical excision: This involves removing the cancerous tissue along with a surrounding margin of healthy tissue to ensure that all the cancer cells have been removed.
Mohs micrographic surgery: This is a specialized surgical technique that is often used for larger or more aggressive tumors. It involves removing the cancer layer by layer, examining each layer under a microscope, and continuing to remove more tissue until all the cancer cells have been removed.
Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
Topical medications: These are creams or gels that are applied directly to the affected area to destroy the cancer cells.
Photodynamic therapy: This involves using a special type of light to activate a photosensitizing agent that has been applied to the skin. This causes the cancer cells to die.
Prevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The best way to prevent squamous cell carcinoma is to protect your skin from the sun. This includes wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, and using sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher. You should also avoid tanning beds and seek shade when the sun is at its strongest.
Regular skin screenings with a dermatology specialist are also important, especially if you have a history of skin cancer or have risk factors such as fair skin, a history of sun exposure, or a weakened immune system.
If you have any concerns about your skin or have noticed any unusual changes, please don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our dermatology practice. Early detection and treatment are key to successful outcomes for squamous cell carcinoma.