Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention
This is a type of skin cancer developing in the squamous cells which composes the outer cover of the human skin. The squamous cell carcinoma of the skin develops in this flat and thin layer of the skin.
Despite the fact that the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is non-life threatening, it can be intrusive in some instances. Serious complications can be caused by squamous cell carcinoma of the skin if it is not treated in an early stage.
Extended uncovering to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from bed lamps using tanning or sunlight can result in the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma cell of the skin can be avoided through reduced exposure to UV light.
Due to the fact that squamous cells are available in various parts of the human body, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can thus occur at any place in the body. The squamous cells that are found in the skin are affected by the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
Causes of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
Error in the DNA of the skin squamous cells will result in the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. The older cell usually sloughs off due to the fact that these cells are pushed by newer cells towards the outer part of the skin. Uncontrolled cell growth will disrupt this process and results in the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
Ultraviolent Light with Other Possible Causes of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
UV lights can be the main cause of the DNA damage. This is usually the tanning beds, commercial tanning lights or sunlight.
Skin cancer can still develop without having been exposed to sunlight. This is a clear indication that other factors contributing factors result in skin cancer. A weakened immune system or exposure to toxic substances can be other contributing factors for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
The part of the skin that is mostly exposed to the sun will be mostly affected with squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Example are at the back of hear or your hands. Your genitals, inside of your mouth or anus can also be affected by squamous cell carcinoma of the skin despite this fact.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin has the following signs and symptoms:
- A nodule that is red and firm
- A sore that is flat with a crust that is scaly
- If you have a matured scar or ulcer, new sore develops
- A scaly patch that is rough on the lips which can be a sore when it opens
- A patch or red sore inside the mouth
- A wart-like patch that is red and raised inside the anus or the genitals.
When to Visit the Doctor for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin?
If you have a scaly skin patch that does not go away or a scab/ sore that does not heal for more than two months, then it is time to visit the doctor.
Risk Factors for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
The factors increasing the risk getting squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include:
- Fair skin. Skin color is not of any difference with the contraction of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Less melanin contributes to the damage caused by the UV radiation. A person with darker skin has lower chances of getting squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, as compared to a person who sunburns and have either lightcolored eyes or red hair or blond.
- Excess exposure to the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can result due to excessive exposure to the sun's UV light. If you do not cover yourself with sun block or clothing when exposed to the sun increases the risk of having squamous cell carcinoma.
- The use of tanning beds. Increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is related to the use of inside tanning beds.
- Sunburn history. Developing squamous cell carcinoma of the skin when one is an adult can be attributed to having formerly had sunburn when he/she was a teenager or a child.
- Having a history of skin lesions that were cancerous. Bowen's disease or actinic keratosis is such precancerous lesions that elevate the likelihood of having the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
- History of cancer of the skin. The probability of recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of skin is high, if you had this problem before.
- Immune system that is weak. Skin cancer can be contracted easily by people whose immune system is weak. People taking medication, lymphoma or leukemia and those with suppressed immune system like organ transplantation are more prone.
- Rare genetic disorder. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can be developed easily by people who have xeroderma pigmentation causing extreme sunlight sensitivity.
Complications for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
The healthy tissues that are near the affected tissue can be destroyed including the lymph nodes or organs because of untreated squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Although it is uncommon, if it happens it is greatly fatal.
The risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin being aggressive will be high when the cancer:
- Is deep and large
- Is in a mucous membrane, for example lips
- The immune system of the person having it is weak or the individual is continuing with anti-rejection drugs owing to an organ transplant.
Tests to Diagnose Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
The procedures and tests administered in the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin are:
- Physical exam. Question regarding the history of your health will be asked by your doctor after examining your skin for traces of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
- A tissue sample can be removed for testing. All of the skin lesions that are suspected will be cut away by your doctor to ascertain squamous cell carcinoma of the skin (biopsy). The situation that you are currently in will determine the type of biopsy of the skin that you will undergo. The sample is taken to the laboratory to be examined.
Treatment for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
Topical medication or minor surgery can be used to remove the squamous cell carcinoma of the skin completely. The aggressiveness of your tumor, its location and the size will be the determining factors of the best treatment for your squamous cell carcinoma of your skin. Your own treatment preferences will also be a determiner.
Treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin may entail:
- Electrodessication and curettage (ED & C). A scraping instrument known as curet is used to remove the skin cancer when it comes to ED and C treatment. The base of the cancer is then sneared with an electric needle. Small squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can use this treatment.
- Laser therapy. The risk of bleeding, scarring and swelling to the tissues surrounding the affected area are reduced when light beams that vaporizes growths. Superficial skin lesions can be eliminated effectively through laser treatment.
- Freezing. Cancer cells are freezed with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) in this treatment. It is an alternative option for skin lesions that are superficial.
- Photodynamic therapy. Superficial cancers of the skin are effectively treated through a combination of light and photosynthesizing drugs in photodynamic therapy.
- Lotions and creams that are medicated. Direct application of creams and lotions with anti- cancerous properties to the superficial cancer of the skin.
- Simple excision. The affected part of the skin and the healthy tissue that surrounds it are cut out completely by your doctor. Additional skin can be removed adjacent to the affected area can be removed if the doctor recommends it (wide excision). Skin reconstruction specialist can be consulted if you want to minimize scarring.
- Moh's surgery. Cancer is removed layer after layer in Moh's surgery. This is done with continued observation until normal cells are remaining. Excessive normal skin cannot be taken out in this consideration.
- Radiation therapy. High energy beams are used to kill cancer when it comes to radiation. Example is X-ray. Deeper tumors can be treated through this method. People who cannot have surgery and those of high risk of recurrence can use this viable method.
Prevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
Majority of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is preventable. In order to shield yourself:
- Avoid midday sunlight. For people who are at the northern part of America the strongest sun rays are between 10a.m. to 4 p.m. Customize you duties to fall into other times of the day regardless of the season or weather condition.
- Sunscreen should be worn throughout the year. The spectrum of the sunscreen that you use should be as high as 15 SPF. Reapply the sunscreen after every two hours. This should be generously when swimming or when perspiring.
- Protective clothing should be worn. Your skin should be covered with clothes that are tightly woven and are dark. They should cover legs and arms. A broad-brimmed hat is necessarily in providing protection as compared to a visor or baseball cap. Protective clothes are also sold by some companies. The brand that is appropriate can be recommended by a dermatologist. Sunglasses are also vital thus you should use those that are blocking UVB and UVA rays.
- Avoid tanning beds. UV rays are emitted by tanning beds which increases the risk of cancer of the skin.
- Regularly check your skin and report it to the doctor. Check the face neck scalp and neck using the mirror. Also check your skin for changes in birthmarks, bumps, freckles or moles. Check also for new growths.
- Examine regularly your trunk and chest and both the underside and tops of the hands and arms. Include the front and the rear of the feet and legs including the spaces between the toes and the soles. Check your buttocks and also the genital area.