Squamous cell skin cancer, or squamous cell skin carcinoma, is the second most common type of skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma. It develops in the cells in the outermost layers of skin. Squamous cell skin cancer is far more likely than basal cell cancer to grow deep and spread to other areas.
Squamous cell skin cancer is highly preventable. The main prevention strategy is avoiding or limiting exposure to UV light, beginning in childhood.
Call (602) 406-8222 or use our online tool to Find a Doctor at Dignity Health who specializes in diagnosing and treating squamous cell skin cancer in Arizona. We provide cancer care at our Chandler Regional Medical Center campus and at the Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.
Squamous Cell Cancer Symptoms
Skin cancers usually appear on parts of your body that get the most sun. But skin cancers can also show up in other places, including your genital area and palms of your hands. This means you need to look everywhere to spot changes. Dignity Health offers cancer screenings customized for men, women, and teens and children.
Signs of squamous cell skin cancer include:
- Flat, scaly skin patch
- Skin lump with a rough surface
- Sore that bleeds and crusts but does not heal
Squamous cell skin cancer can start as precancerous skin growths called actinic keratoses (AKs). They may appear as dry, scaly growths in areas of the body that get a lot of sun. Actinic keratoses can also burn or itch.
Squamous Cell Cancer Treatment at Dignity Health
At Dignity Health, cancer resources, such as support groups and counseling, are available to both you and your family members.
Cancer treatment options for squamous cell skin cancer depend on the stage. This type of skin cancer can grow deep and sometimes spreads to lymph nodes, which is a way cancer cells move to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy may be necessary if this happens.
If the cancer has not yet spread to lymph nodes, doctors recommend the following types of treatments:
- Cryosurgery, which freezes the growth with liquid nitrogen
- Curettage and electrodessication, which scrapes away the growth and then destroys any remaining cancer cells with an electrical current
- Medicated creams
- Mohs surgery, which involves removing the cancer and some cells around it layer by layer until no more cancer cells remain
- Photodynamic therapy, which uses a chemical treatment on the growth and special lights that kill cancer cells
- Radiation therapy
- Surgical removal, which may involve skin grafting or transplant to restore function and appearance after skin cancer removal
Dignity Health expertly treats squamous cell skin cancer in Arizona, as part of our oncology services.