What is Squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer behind basal cell carcinoma. As its name suggests, it develops in the flat squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin (called the epidermis).

Until recently, SCC was more often seen in older people, mainly men who worked outdoors. But today, more women and younger people are developing SCC, according to the College of American Pathologists.

Most squamous cell skin cancers appear on sun-exposed areas of the body – the face, neck, ears, back of the hands and scalp. But they can occur in other areas too. For example, SCCs can develop in the mouth or on the genitals.

In most cases, SCCs are cured by either removing the cancerous growth and/or using medications applied to the skin. But, if it spreads, it can cause damage and scarring and may even invade nearby tissue or organs.

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