What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that is found in the middle and outer layers of skin. It develops when keratin proteins in the skin are mutated by excessive exposure to sunlight, creating precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses. If left untreated, actinic keratosis can turn into squamous cell carcinoma.
Where Are These Tumors Typically Located?
Squamous cell carcinoma most often appears on sun exposed areas of the body, but it can also occur in the mucous membranes and genitals. It can be found on the following parts of the body:
- Rim of ears
- Lower lip
- Balding scalp
- Back of Hands
Signs and Symptoms of Squamous Cell
Squamous cell carcinoma is usually accompanied by obvious signs of sun damage, including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, freckles, age spots, loss of elasticity, and broken blood vessels. Squamous cell growths exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
- Scaly red patches
- A flat sore with a scaly crust
- Bleeding lesions
- A firm, red nodule
- A new sore or raised area on an old scar or ulcer
- A rough, scaly patch on your lip that may evolve to an open sore
- A red sore or rough patch inside your mouth
- A red, raised patch or wart like sore on or in the anus or on the genitals
Skin Cancer Prevention
Skin cancer can be prevented through screenings and early detection. Growths that may look like small, insignificant bumps could actually be lesions that have turned into cancer. The earlier squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed and treated, the better. It’s much easier to completely remove the growths and eliminate the cancer before they grow deeper into the skin.
When a Pre-cancerous Skin Lesion, Actinic Keratosis, Develops into a Cancerous Tumor
Actinic keratosis can quickly turn into squamous cell carcinoma if not detected and treated early. Immediately visit a doctor if you notice any changes in the appearance of the lesions on your skin. Below are warning signs that your actinic keratoses may have turned into skin cancer:
- The color changes
- The lesions become unevenly smaller or bigger
- The lesions change in shape, texture, or height
- The lesions start to itch
- The lesions bleed or ooze