Squamous cell carcinomas are the second most common form of skin cancer. They affect nearly 250,000 Americans each year. Unlike basal cells, squamous cells have the ability to metastasize and affect other areas of the body. Squamous cells develop from actinic keratoses, or AKs. These tumors are best recognized by Dr. Mejia and Ashley by their red, scaly patch-like appearance. Squamous cells can often appear as wart-like growths and may develop a crusted surface or bleed. There are many preventative care techniques that our office utilizes to help protect against the development of AKs and squamous cells and we highly recommend that our patients ask to learn more.
Due to the potential of squamous cells to metastasize and rapidly grow we emphasize treating the cancers as soon as possible. The treatment plans for squamous cells are similar to basal cells and Ashley and Dr. Mejia will be more than happy to discuss all of the treatment options in depth.
When caught early, squamous may be considered superficial, and can be removed quickly and without the use of sutures through the technique of electrodessication and curettage, or ED&C. This technique will lead to the patient having a circular scar that is dependent on the size of the carcinoma.
The next option is to treat the tumor is with an excision. This is a surgical procedure that will involve sutures and will lead to a line scar. Dr. Mejia and Ashley want to emphasize that the line scar will be 4-5 times the size of the squamous cell in order to ensure the best medical and cosmetic result.
When squamous cells are present on the face or neck, our practice highly recommends the Mohs procedure. This will allow for the absolute best cosmetic result and will ensure that the basal-cell is completely removed.
In some cases, radiation therapy is the preferred treatment option. Radiation therapy uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells. Treating a skin cancer with this method often requires at least 15 treatments in order to gradually destroy the entire tumor.
When completely treated, the cure rate for squamous cells is greater than 95%.