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Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatable

What Are The Treatments For This Type Of Tumor

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment Options

The course of treatment will depend on how large your cat’s tumor is and how many tumors there are. The most well-described treatment for SCC of the skin is surgery. Surgery appears to provide the best long-term control of the disease, as long as the tumor can be completely removed, meaning no cancer cells are left behind. If the tumor is small and has not spread to other organs, it may be removed by cryosurgery or various other options.

Tumors of the toes require amputation of the affected toe, and tumors of the nose may require a partial removal of the nose. Treatment of SCCs of the nose is often successful with radiation therapy. This therapy involves using a probe to deliver a high dose of radiation to a very small area that only penetrates a few millimeters of skin. This allows for effective tumor control without making your cat sick from radiation.

Multicentric SCCs may be treated with surgery and/or immune-response modifiers.

The role of chemotherapy, including injecting the chemotherapeutic medication directly into the tumor, remains controversial. Your veterinarian will discuss this option with you.

How Is Squamous Cell Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Diagnosed

Diagnosis is made by clinical exam and a biopsy. Squamous cell cancers are staged by size and extent of growth. Squamous cell cancers can metastasize to nearby lymph nodes or other organs, and can invade both small and large nerves and local structures.

Biopsy can help determine if the squamous cell cancer is a low-risk tumor or a high-risk tumor that requires more aggressive treatment. Low-risk tumors are less than 10 millimeters in size, less than or equal to 5 millimeters deep and do not involve structures beyond the surrounding fat. High-risk tumors in the head and neck are those that involve the central face, nose and eye area, as well as those tumors that are greater than or equal to 10 millimeters on the cheeks, scalp and neck, tumors that are more than 5 millimeters thick or involve adjacent structures, tumors that invade nerves, tumors that are recurrent or arising from previously radiated tissue, and tumors arising in patients who are immunosuppressed.

How Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin Treated When It Spreads

When this cancer spreads beyond the skin, it travels to the lymph nodes or other organs. Once it spreads, a patient has advanced cancer.

If you’ve been diagnosed with advanced SCC, you will be cared for by a team of medical professionals. This team will include oncologists . Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

Surgery: When surgery can remove the cancer and youre healthy enough to have surgery, this is often the preferred treatment. After surgery, another treatment, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, is often given. Adding another treatment helps to kill cancer cells.

Radiation therapy: Radiation can target cancer cells in the skin, lymph nodes, or other areas of the body. When a patient has advanced SCC, radiation therapy is often used along with another treatment.

Immunotherapy: This type of treatment helps strengthen your immune system so that it can fight the cancer. Drugs called immunotherapy medications are given for this purpose.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved one immunotherapy medication for the treatment of advanced SCC of the skin. Its called cemiplimab-rwlc.

In the clinical trials that led the FDA to approve cemiplimab-rwlc, about half the patients who had advanced SCC of the skin had their tumors shrink. In many patients who had tumor shrinkage, the shrinking lasted 6 months or longer. A few patients had their tumors disappear completely.


Pembrolizumab is also given by IV infusion.

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What Is The Success Rate For Treating Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Unlike basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma tends to be more invasive and is likely to spread if left untreated. As with basal cell carcinoma, Mohs micrographic surgery has the best success rates, at 97 percent. Excision has a 92 percent success rate. For low-risk, small tumors, curettage, and electrodesiccation is successful in 96 percent of cases, but it cannot be used for larger, deeper growths.

Squamous cell carcinoma is generally not considered life-threatening if treated early. However, if left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can spread and it can then become life-threatening. Reliable statistics are not available, however, because most of these cancers are treated in a dermatologists office.

When To Seek Medical Care


If you have developed a new bump on sun-exposed skin, or if you have a spot that bleeds easily or does not seem to be healing, then you should make an appointment with your primary care physician or with a dermatologist. You should also make an appointment if an existing spot changes size, shape, color, or texture, or if it starts to itch, bleed, or become tender.Try to remember to tell your doctor when you first noticed the lesion and what symptoms, if any, it may have . Also be sure to ask your parents, siblings, and adult children whether or not they have ever been diagnosed with skin cancer, and relay this information to your physician.

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Treating Advanced Squamous Cell Cancers

Lymph node dissection:Removing regional lymph nodes might be recommended for some squamous cell cancers that are very large or have grown deeply into the skin, as well as if the lymph nodes feel enlarged and/or hard. The removed lymph nodes are looked at under a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells. Sometimes, radiation therapy might be recommended after surgery.

Immunotherapy: For advanced squamous cell cancers that cant be cured with surgery or radiation therapy, one option might be using an immunotherapy drug such as cemiplimab or pembrolizumab . However, these drugs havent been studied in people with weakened immune systems, such as people who take medicines for autoimmune diseases or who have had an organ transplant, so the balance between benefits and risks for these people isnt clear.

Systemic chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy:Chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs might be other options for patients with squamous cell cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or distant organs. These types of treatment might be combined or used separately.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin And Actinic Keratosis Often Appear As A Change In The Skin

Not all changes in the skin are a sign of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, or actinic keratosis. Check with your doctor if you notice any changes in your skin.

Signs of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include the following:

  • A sore that does not heal.
  • Areas of the skin that are:
  • Raised, smooth, shiny, and look pearly.
  • Firm and look like a scar, and may be white, yellow, or waxy.
  • Raised and red or reddish-brown.
  • Scaly, bleeding, or crusty.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin occur most often in areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as the nose, ears, lower lip, or top of the hands.

Signs of actinic keratosis include the following:

  • A rough, red, pink, or brown, scaly patch on the skin that may be flat or raised.
  • Cracking or peeling of the lower lip that is not helped by lip balm or petroleum jelly.

Actinic keratosis occurs most commonly on the face or the top of the hands.

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What Is The Outlook For Someone Who Has Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin

When found early, this cancer is highly treatable. Left untreated, however, SCC can spread deep into the skin and travel to other parts of the body, making treatment difficult.

While treatment can remove the cancer, its important to know that this cancer can return. You also have a greater risk of developing another skin cancer.

Thats why self-care becomes so important after treatment for SCC of the skin. Youll find the self-care that dermatologists recommend at, Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: Self-care.

ImagesGetty Images

ReferencesAlam M, Armstrong A, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018;78:560-78.

Anadolu-Brasie R, Patel AR, et al., Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. In: Nouri K, et al. Skin Cancer. McGraw Hill Medical, China, 2008: 86-114.

Marrazzo G, Zitelli JA, et al. Clinical outcomes in high-risk squamous cell carcinoma patients treated with Mohs micrographic surgery alone. J Am Acad Dermatol 2019;80:633-8.

Que SKT, Zwald FO, et al. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: Management of advanced and high-stage tumors. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018;78:249-61.

Ribero S, Stucci LS, et al. Drug therapy of advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: Is there any evidence? Curr Opin Oncol. 2017;29:129-35.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves cemiplimab-rwlc for metastatic or locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. New release issued 9/28/2018. Last accessed 1/13/2020.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Throat and Neck Treatment Week 1

Squamous cell carcinoma treatment almost always involves surgery to remove a tumor, followed by one or more additional treatments to destroy residual cancer cells. Each patients treatment plan is influenced by a number of factors; the most important considerations include the size and location of the tumor, the spread of the cancer into nearby tissues and the patients personal and aesthetic preferences. A number of different treatments are available for squamous cell carcinoma, making it possible to individualize each patients treatment plan to meet his or her specific needs.

In some situations, an entire carcinoma can be surgically removed during a diagnostic biopsy . When this is the case, the growth is typically shaved off with a scalpel or sharp blade or punched out with a round, hollow tool.

In other situations, surgery is required after an initial biopsy. This is more common with larger, more extensive cancers that have grown deep into the skin or invaded nearby tissues. When this is the case, one of the following squamous cell carcinoma treatment options might be recommended:

Nonsurgical treatment options include radiation therapy, in which cancerous cells are exposed to powerful radioactive beams; topical chemotherapy, in which medications are applied directly to the surface of the skin and photodynamic therapy, in which chemicals and special lights are used to destroy cancerous cells.

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Staging Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Staging of squamous cell carcinomas is used to determine if, or how far, the cancer has spread. Treatment plans are determined by the stage or extent of the disease.

Factors that determine the stage of an SCC include:

  • the size of the tumor
  • the depth of growth into the skin
  • whether the tumor has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body

Cancer staging helps determine treatment plans and provides information about survival.

Squamous cell carcinoma staging is based on the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system.

T; Primary Tumor: Determined by tumor size and thickness, high-risk features, and level of invasion.

N; Regional Lymph Nodes: Based on the location and number of lymph nodes with cancer cells, and the size of the metastatic tumor.

M; Metastasis: Whether the tumor has spread to other parts of the body.

Once the detailed TNM stage is obtained, a simpler five-level stage is determined. The lower the stage, the better the prognosis. ;

Expert Treatment For Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a highly treatable form of cancer, especially when detected early. At ColumbiaDoctors Dermatology we offer a full range of treatments, which include surgery, radiation therapy, and cyrosurgery. Our physicians will help you develop the best treatment plan for your specific set of circumstances. Treatments include:

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Srt Treatment Options For Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Skin cancers are among the most commonly occurring, with a number equal to that of all breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer occurrences combined.

The risk of squamous cell carcinoma is greatest in individuals with fair skin, those prone to sunburns, or a history of skin lesions which are precancerous, or a weakened immune system.

Squamous cell carcinoma is predominately caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays over the course of ones life. Those who spend a great deal of time in direct sunlight throughout the year, indulge in intense exposure throughout the summer months, or utilize indoor tanning beds, are at a heightened risk as these habits cause skin damage which may eventually result in squamous cell carcinoma.

The skins outer layer consists of numerous thin, flat squamous cells. These cells are present all over the body, which means that squamous cell carcinoma can occur anywhere squamous cells are present.

Squamous cell carcinoma will often times appear as red patches which are scaly, as open sores, warts, or growths which are elevated. Crusting over, or bleeding may also occur, which may result in the area becoming disfigured. Squamous cell carcinoma is often times an aggressive cancer which if left untreated could spread to other areas of the body, leaving scarring. This cancer is not usually considered life threatening.

Treatment for Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma Staging

Squamous cell carcinoma  Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and ...

Squamous cell lung carcinoma begins in the cells lining the bronchi. Over time, cancer can spread by invading nearby lymph nodes and organs and traveling through the blood to other parts of the body.

Doctors use tumor size, location, and severity of spread to classify cancer into stages. Using the TNM system, the cancer is given a number indicating tumor size , spread to the lymph nodes , and metastasis . These are then combined to classify the cancer into a stage.

There are six main stages. Stages 1 to 4 are subdivided according to tumor size, number, and location:

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Screening And Early Diagnosis

Primary preventionstopping smoking and drinking less alcoholis the most effective way to reduce mortality. Early detection should be a priority, given the excellent prognosis of early stage disease compared with the poor results in advanced stages. In Indian screening programmes, community health workers have been trained in primary prevention and early detection of oral cancer and premalignant lesions, but no evidence suggests that this reduces mortality. Screening is most cost effective when targeted at high risk groupsfor example, heavy drinkers and smokers.

In the United Kingdom there is relatively little public awareness of head and neck cancer, although individual centres have taken local initiatives. Dentists largely carry the responsibility for examining the oral mucosa in the self selected population that attends for treatment.

What Is Aggressive Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Aggressive SCC or high-risk SCC is cancer that is more likely to recur or metastasize . Features of high-risk SCC are:4,9

  • Larger than 2 centimeters
  • Deeper than 2 millimeters
  • Near the lip and ear
  • Located in a scar or other injured skin
  • Spread into a nerve
  • Poorly differentiated

Having a weakened immune system due to medications or infections increases the risk of aggressive SCC. History of radiation exposure or use of psoralen UVA treatment are other risk factors for aggressive SCC.9

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma Stage

After the patient is confirmed to have SCC, the doctor will conduct further examinations to determine the stage of SCC. This examination will help the doctor in choosing the right type of treatment for the patient.

The following are the stages or stages of development of squamous cell carcinoma:

  • Stage 0Cancer cells are in the top layer of the skin and have not spread to the deep layers of the skin
  • Stage 1The tumor is less than 2 cm in size and has not spread to the lymph nodes
  • Stage 2The tumor is 24 cm in size and has not spread to the lymph nodes
  • Stage 3The tumor is larger than 4 cm or has spread to the deep layers of the skin, bone, or to nearby lymph nodes
  • Stage 4Tumor of any size that has spread to more than 1 lymph node, bone marrow, or other organs

What Are The Clinical Signs Of Scc

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Throat and Neck Treatment Week 2

Typically, SCC tends to arise in sparsely-haired and lightly-pigmented areas of the skin, particularly the eyelids, top edge of the nose , lips, and ears, and other areas that have greater exposure to ultraviolet rays/sunlight. SCC can be highly variable in appearance. Tumors may appear as a shallow or deep sore , a raised, reddened area, or a cauliflower-like growth.

Multicentric SCCs arise as pigmented areas on the skin which become ulcerated and bleed. These areas are painful and can become scabby in appearance. They can expand across the skin and reach 1½ inches in diameter.

Although SCC most commonly occurs on the facial area in cats, it can occur anywhere, including the toes. SCC of the toe represent about 25% of all digital tumors in cats. Tumors of the toes, especially the nail bed, can cause swelling, pain, loss of the nail, and lameness. Cats may lick or chew the area and cause self-trauma.

A condition called hypercalcemia is occasionally seen in cats with SCC. When cats are affected by hypercalcemia, they may urinate or drink excessively and permanent kidney damage may occur if not addressed by your veterinarian.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of Oral Cavity

The signs and symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Oral Cavity include:

  • In majority of the cases, the condition is asymptomatic and does not present any signs or symptoms
  • Generally, squamous cell carcinomas are slow-growing tumors; though SCC of Oral Cavity is an aggressive form of cancer
  • The mouth parts affected may include the cheek, hard and soft palate, gums, etc.
  • The skin lesions may appear as crusted ulcer, plaques, and nodules
  • It may ulcerate and bleed. Occasionally, after the ulcer heals, it may become ulcerated again
  • The size of the lesions range from 1-10 cm; average size is usually less than 3 cm
  • Individuals with immunocompromised states have more aggressive tumors
  • Due to the presence of the lesion on the oral mucosa, it may be difficult for the individual to consume food and drink. Also, speaking may be difficult and painful


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