Like most forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma symptoms begin with a skin lesion. The second-most common form of skin cancer, this type of carcinoma develops in the thin, flat squamous cells of the outer epidermis. While not typically life-threatening, squamous cell carcinoma symptoms have been known to grow deeper into the layers of the skin, spreading to other parts of the body faster than other types of skin cancer. Because of this ability to metastasize, this is considered an aggressive cancer, especially when left untreated.
If you are experiencing squamous cell carcinoma symptoms, visit a doctor as soon as possible. This form of cancer is the result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from sun, tanning beds, or tanning lamps. Along with genetics, risk factors include having fair skin, a history of intense sunburns, a personal history of precancerous skin lesions or skin cancer, and a weakened immune system. While squamous cell carcinomas can appear anywhere on the body, they are more common in areas that are often exposed to light, such as the face, arms, neck, and chest. Additionally, squamous cell carcinoma is more likely to develop in older men.
Detecting Squamous Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
While rarely fatal, squamous cell carcinoma’s ability to spread make it a dangerous condition. This type of cancer is not as likely to reach metastasis as melanoma, but any potential symptoms warrant a visit to the dermatologist. If you believe you may have developed squamous cell carcinoma, it is important to know what the cancer looks like.
- Squamous cell carcinomas often appear as scaly, irritated skin in an isolated patch. It begins as a dome-shaped bump or red, scaly patch of skin. It can be rough and crusty and bleed easily when scraped. Larger growths can itch or hurt.
- In some cases, squamous cell carcinomas can manifest as growths that look like warts. Be on the lookout for any change in a preexisting skin growth, like wounds or sores that fail to heal. Any new growth warrants a consultation with a doctor.
- If you have experienced squamous cell carcinoma symptoms in the past, it is important to remain extremely watchful for additional growths and marks. Individuals who are diagnosed and treated for a squamous cell lesion have an increased risk of developing another in the same location or in a nearby skin area.
Squamous cell carcinoma symptoms look different on everyone, but acquainting yourself with what they look like is an excellent first step in identifying the cancer. If caught early, nearly all squamous cell carcinomas can be successfully treated. Left without a diagnosis, however, this cancer can become dangerous. If you believe the new growth or discoloration to be abnormal, making a prompt appointment with our Mt. Vernon office can provide the answers you need.
Schedule an Appointment
If there’s any indication that a skin blemish could be cancer, you should make an appointment with our Mt. Vernon dermatology clinic. Squamous cell carcinoma is more easily treated when there is an early diagnosis, but only a doctor can conduct the physical exam and tissue sampling needed to confirm the existence of cancer. Whether squamous cell carcinoma detection happens at home or during a routine skin check, early diagnosis is an important factor in treatment.