Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or squamous cell cancer, is the second most common form of skin cancer. It’s usually found on the areas of the body that have been damaged by UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. Squamous cell cancer is usually not life-threatening, but it can be very aggressive and can cause health complications if left untreated.
Common symptoms of squamous cell cancer include:
- Red, firm nodules
- Flat sores with a scaly crust
- Rough, scaly patches on the lip or open sores on the lip
- Red, wart-like sores on or in the anus or genitals
- Red sores or rough areas in the mouth
- New sores or raised patches over an old scar or ulcer
The best way to prevent squamous cell cancer is to avoid tanning beds and always wear sunscreen when going outside. Avoid exposing yourself to UV rays for long periods, and always wear protective clothing or sit under a UV protected umbrella when enjoying outdoor activities.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Also known as basal cell carcinoma, basal cell cancer (BCC) begins in the basal cells and is one of the most common types of skin cancer. In fact, BCC affects more than three million people every year. Basal cell cancer develops in areas of the skin that are commonly unprotected and overexposed to the sun such as the hands, forearms, neck, and forehead. Usually this type of cancer does not metastasize, but treatment is always encouraged as the infection can spread deeper into the skin over time.
Common symptoms of BCC include:
- Waxy skin growths: Typically, these appear lumps look almost like a scar, and can range in color from pale white to yellow pigment, and can even be the same color as your skin.
- Sores that bleed easily: These sores are easy to open and difficult to stop bleeding.
- Dome-shaped growth: These can appear as a slow-growing, dome-shaped lumps that flatten out over time, may ooze, and leave a crust.
- Eczema-like scales: Basal cell cancer can present itself as a shiny and scaly pink-red patch of skin that grows slowly and is often mistaken for eczema.
Seeking treatment for Skin Cancer
Skin diseases and cancers are most effectively diagnosed through a biopsy that can be performed and sent to a specialist or lab. We will either remove the entire growth or part of the affected area during the biopsy for testing. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, there are several ways to treat skin cancer including:
- Creams: If caught early enough, basal cell cancer can be treated with medicated creams and ointments that can be applied at home or in the office.
- Excision: Excisions cut out the tumor and affected area to make sure the cancer is entirely removed from your body. This procedure can be done in the office with the use of numbing cream or local anesthetic.
- Cryosurgery: This procedure is similar to wart removal where we apply liquid nitrogen to the affected area to freeze the tissue, causing the cancer cells to die.
- Mohs Surgery: A unique technique that is used to remove skin cancer, Mohs surgery has one of the highest success rates for removing more difficult basal cell carcinomas.
For more information on skin cancer or to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact Peter Karlsberg, MD today.