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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Leading-edge skin cancer diagnosis & treatment.

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Leading-edge skin cancer diagnosis & treatment.

General Information

Greensboro’s Squamous Cell Carcinoma Experts

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the squamous cells. These skin cells are found in the surface layer of your skin, also known as the epidermis. Squamous cell carcinomas form as a result of DNA damage within the cells, which causes them to grow rapidly and out of control. This rapid reproduction of cells is what we call cancer.

Over 15 million cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. This makes it the second most common form of skin cancer, just behind basal cell carcinoma. Because it is so common, with cases increasing every year, it’s important to learn as much as you can about this form of skin cancer. Use this guide as a starting point for understanding what squamous cell carcinoma is, what causes it, how it may look, and your best treatment options.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma FAQs

Learn more about squamous cell carcinoma by reading our board-certified dermatologist’s answers to some frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your question below, contact us directly!

Squamous cell carcinoma is the result of damage to your DNA, which causes cell mutations that signal the cell to reproduce rapidly in unexpected ways. So, what can damage your skin cells’ DNA in this particular way? Primarily, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, either from the sun or tanning beds.

That’s why it is so important to take skin-protecting precautions when you know you’ll be exposed to UV rays, such as wearing sunscreen or clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). And you should always avoid tanning beds!

Early detection of skin cancer is essential to increase your treatment options and cure probability. So, be on the lookout for any warning signs of squamous cell carcinoma, including:

  • A thick, rough, scaly patch on the skin that may crust or bleed
  • A spot that resembles a wart or an open sore and that doesn’t heal
  • A raised growth with an indentation in the center, which may bleed or itch
  • A sore that doesn’t completely heal, or heals and then returns

Unfortunately, not all squamous cell carcinomas take on these characteristics. So, if you have a suspicious spot or unusual growth, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible for a professional opinion.

Squamous cell carcinomas can sometimes be itchy, especially in lesions that repeatedly crust or scab over. If you have a spot that persistently itches or any new changes in your skin, reach out to a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening to be sure.

Detected in the early stages, almost all squamous cell carcinomas can successfully be treated. That said, this form of skin cancer can become dangerous if it is allowed to advance, invading deep into surrounding tissues, including muscle or bone.

While it is rare, squamous cell carcinomas are capable of metastasizing, or spreading to other parts of the body, if they’re left untreated. Some of these carcinomas have a higher risk for metastasis than others, especially those located on the lips and ears.

Squamous cell carcinomas are typically easy to treat when we can detect and remove them early enough. Currently, with effective treatment and early detection, around 95%–98% of these skin cancers are cured.

However, if left undetected and untreated, these carcinomas can spread deeper into the skin and surrounding tissues, which can be disfiguring and even life-threatening. That’s why scheduling an annual skin cancer screening is so important!

At Brassfield Dermatology, we remain on the leading edge of skin cancer diagnosis and treatment methods. Our goal is to effectively remove the cancer while minimizing the impact to the surrounding tissue. We may do this using a number of different methods, such as:

  • Surgical excision
  • Mohs surgery
  • Cryotherapy
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation (cautery)

If you have additional questions about how we treat squamous cell carcinoma at Brassfield Dermatology, please feel free to contact us today.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma Photos

Not sure what squamous cell carcinoma looks like? Take a look at our photo gallery to see examples of how this skin cancer can appear on the body. If you have any uncertainties at all about a spot or growth, please get in touch with our board-certified dermatologist Dr. McCarthy today!


Squamous Cell Carcinoma Diagnosis & Treatment in Greensboro, NC

Have you noticed a suspicious spot on your skin that you want to have checked out? Or have you already been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and are looking for skin cancer treatment options?

At Brassfield Dermatology, our team is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of skin cancer. To schedule your consultation and screening, call (336) 900-1525 or request an appointment online.

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Have questions or concerns? Please call us today.

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