Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer. Affecting more than 250,000 Americans each year, it usually occurs in people (most often men) who are age 50 years or older.

Although SCC is usually found on the face, neck, hands, arms, and legs, it can appear anywhere on your body. Some people have had squamous cell skin cancer on the scalp, lips, ears, genitals, and mucous membranes.

You might be at risk for squamous cell carcinoma if you live, work, and play outside and often are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer. Most often, it starts in the top layer of skin (or epidermis). But if it is not treated, SCC can grow into the deeper tissue and spread (metastasize) to other tissues and the organs. It can even cause the loss of a nose, ear, or eye if it grows deeply enough. In severe cases, squamous cell skin cancer can spread to other tissues and organs and cause death.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

You might have squamous cell carcinoma if you have:

  • Firm, red or reddish-brown areas (or nodules) on your lip, face, ears, neck, hands, and arms
  • A scaly, crusty, flat sore on your face, ears, neck, hands, and arms
  • An ulcer or scar that has a new, sore-like or raised area
  • A flat, white patch or ulcer inside your mouth
  • A raised red patch or sore in or on your anus or genitals

In its early stages, squamous cell carcinoma can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from normal skin. For this reason, it is important to have regular skin checkups with an expert such as Manhattan Beach dermatologist Lawrence Moy, MD. Dr. Moy can identify areas on your skin that you might not recognize as abnormal. He can then test and treat them in the early stages when you have the greatest chance for recovery.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Risk

You might be at risk for SCC if you have:

  • Fair or freckled skin
  • Green, grey, or blue eyes
  • Spent lots of time in the sun
  • Used tanning beds
  • Any growths from sun damage, including moles and skin tags
  • Previously had another skin cancer
  • Had skin ulcers, scars, burns, long-lasting sores, and X-rays
  • Had long-term skin infections
  • Had inflamed areas on your skin
  • An disease of your immune system
  • Had medication/chemotherapy for an organ transplant
  • A family history of SCC, including inherited conditions such as xeroderma

People with fair skin usually have a greater risk for squamous cell carcinoma than people with darker skin; however, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in African Americans.

for Squamous Cell Carcinoma

There is a high cure rate for squamous cell carcinoma when it is found and treated in its early stages.

Dr. Moy offers a wide range of treatment for squamous cell disease, including surgery to excise the cancerous cells, curettage and electrosurgery, cryosurgery, radiation, photodynamic therapy, laser surgery, and topical medications.

The good news is that in most cases, squamous cell tumors are removed with minimal discomfort.


To protect yourself from skin cancer,
including squamous cell carcinoma,
schedule an appointment with Dr. Moy today

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