Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is one of three types of skin cancer (the other two are basalioma and malignant melanoma). In SCC, skin cells degenerate into malignant tumor (a bump). As with other types of skin cancer, long exposure to strong sun appears to be one of the main causes of this disease. Another cause, although rare, is the long-term exposure to industrial tar. Very rarely, spinal cord develops as a result of solar keratosis (see Sunburn article).
SCC is manifested as a solid, fleshy bump with hard surface, which is constantly growing. In some cases it resembles a wart, in others it forms an ulcer. SCC is usually appearing on places exposed to the Sun. Common places are the lower lips, ear and arms.
Every year there is a new case of SCC or BCC (which is more common) in 1500 people. You are at the greater risk if you have lived in the sunny countries for many years, if you are a bright-tanned, and if you are middle aged or older. The disorder is rare in people with darker skin.
If we let cancer progress, it can spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). If it does, the odds of curing are weak. Usually, the disorder is noticeable early, and the treatment is simple and effective.
What to do?
If, for no reason, a bump appears on your body, immediately go to your doctor. After the examination, your doctor may want to take a sample of suspicious tissue for biopsy.
In most cases SCC is easily removed by cutting, and it can also be treated by freezing (cryosurgery) and radiotherapy.
Full healing is achieved in more than 90% of the cases. During the next few years, regular controls are needed to detect possible recurrence of the disease and take further treatment.