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What Is Difference Between Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Does Basal Cell Turn Into Squamous

Dr G discusses the differences between basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

Basal cells: These cells are in the lower part of the epidermis, called the basal cell layer. These cells constantly divide to form new cells to replace the squamous cells that wear off the skin’s surface. As these cells move up in the epidermis, they get flatter, eventually becoming squamous cells.

Incidence Of Melanoma Of The Ear

Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinomas of the pinna of the ear are more common than melanomas, but this patient had a melanoma. The patient showed classic nodal drainage for ear cancers into the parotid lymph nodes . The median age at diagnosis of pinna cancer is in the 70s. Recurrences are more common with squamous cell carcinomas than with basal cell carcinomas. Of the cancers treated with radiation therapy, those in which tumor size exceeded 2cm, those with higher T stage, those with cartilage necrosis, recurrent lesions, those with a field size exceeding 6cm2, and those for which treatment time was longer had an increased rate of local treatment failure.

Yaohui G. Xu, … Gary S. Wood, in, 2020

The Difference Between Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common types of skin cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, over 5 million cases of basal cell and squamous cell cancers are diagnosed every year. Though, basal cell carcinoma occurs more often, taking credit for about 80% of these cases. Other than the disparities in occurrence, what is the difference between basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas? You may also be wondering is squamous cell worse than basal cell, or vice versa. Here is some insight.

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What Is The Difference Between Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinoma And Melanoma

Melanoma typically begins as a mole and can occur anywhere on the body. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as a firm red bump, a scaly patch, or open sore, or a wart that may crust or bleed easily. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and may bleed.

Can squamous turn into melanoma? Squamous cell cancer falls in between. Its three times as common as melanoma . Though not as common as basal cell , squamous cell is more serious because it is likely to spread .

What Is Considered Early Stage Basal Cell Carcinoma

The Difference Between Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Skin ...

At first, a basal cell carcinoma comes up like a small pearly bump that looks like a flesh-colored mole or a pimple that doesnt go away. Sometimes these growths can look dark. Or you may also see shiny pink or red patches that are slightly scaly. Another symptom to watch out for is a waxy, hard skin growth.

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How This Affects Carcinomas

What is interesting about basal cell carcinomas versus squamous cell carcinomas is that, while the squamous cells are located on the outermost layer of the epidermis, these cancers have the potential to grow deeper into the skin. Basal cell cancers rarely do so. Patients should be educated about what to look for during skin cancer self-exams to help them identify potential squamous cell carcinomas.

Typical characteristics of SCCs include:

  • An open or recurring sore that alternates between bleeding and crusting.
  • Elevated growths with a depressed center .
  • Wart-like growths that occasionally crust or bleed.
  • Scaly patches of red skin with irregular edges.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma frequently affects elderly White people with a phenotype of red hair, blue eyes and fair skin, who for a long time have been chronically exposed to UV. In keratinocytes, UV induces two major classes of mutagenic photoproducts: cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimers , and 6,4 pyrimidine-pyrimidine. These DNA lesions may give rise to the genetic mutations CT and/or CCTT that are the hallmarks of UV-induced mutagenesis, and are considered to be UV signature mutations . Furthermore, in sun-exposed skin, UV can induce the generation of highly reactive oxygen species with the capacity to cause DNA damage, thus further promoting mutagenesis .

Such a field of precancerized epidermis with molecularly altered keratinocytes may look clinically normal and may or may not have the microscopical features of UV-induced damage , or may exhibit the clinical and histopathological features of actinic keratosis which is a precursor lesion of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma . Subsequent clonal divergence will result in the evolution of subclones which would have had multiple episodes of genetic mutations, one or more of which will eventually give rise to frank cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in all its clinical variety .

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Difference Between Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Categorized under Disease,Health,Science | Difference Between Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Cancer or carcinoma, the abnormal growth of cells, can affect any number of human organs and tissues. Skin cancer is cancer that occurs in skin cells. There are three types of skin cancer, but two main types of the three: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly and can damage tissue but it is unlikely to be deadly or metastasize to other parts of the body.

Squamous cell carcinomas also onset over a long period of time, on the scale of several months, and it is more likely to metastasize than basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinomas are also not limited to the skin, and can occur in places like the lungs, thyroid, and esophagus.

Basal cell carcinomas have many causes, including long-term sun exposure and intense, extended sun exposure that leads to sunburn. These cancers occur in places that are exposed to the sun more frequently: ears, nose, scalp, shoulders and back. Other, less common causes of basal cell carcinomas include radiation exposure, chronic inflammation of the skin, burn complications and scarring.

What Is The Difference Between Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Dermatology – basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

September 14, 2015 by Aeriann Golden

A carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that starts in the skin cells or the tissue lining of your organs. The abnormal cancer cells can divide and spread throughout the body, but this does not always occur with carcinoma. There are several types of carcinomas, but the two most common are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. While they are the same form of cancer, know the difference between basal cell and squamous cell.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

More people get basal cell carcinoma than any other type of cancer. Basal cell carcinoma forms in the cells that line the deepest layer of the outer skin. Unlike other types of carcinomas, basal cell carcinoma rarely travels to other parts of the body. Since the cancer cells will not travel, basal cell carcinoma is usually very easy to treat.

The most common symptoms of basal cell carcinoma are open sores, red patches, and skin growths. These skin sores will also be very sensitive and bleed easily. Basal cell carcinoma is usually caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet rays can damage your skin cells over time, and these damaged cells can easily turn into cancer cells. If you avoid excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from a tanning bed or the sun, then you should be able to avoid getting basal cell carcinoma.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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What Are The Symptoms Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinomas are usually raised growths, ranging from the size of a pea to the size of a chestnut. They may appear as scaly red patches, open sores or protruding growths with a dented center, or they may look like a wart. Most are found in areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the ears, lips, face, balding scalp, neck, hands, arms, and legs. Less commonly, they may appear on mucous membranes and genitals. Regardless of what form the bumps take, they do not heal or go away on their own.

Understanding Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

By Dr. Baird on June 5, 2019 under Uncategorized

A cancer diagnosis is upsetting news wherever it is found in the body. Although some cancers are more aggressive than others, the nature of cancer is the same. A mutation at the cellular level causes cells to reproduce out of control. In the interior organs, this leads to the growth of tumors. When cancer is found on the skin, it leads to patches of cancerous cells. The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. You may not hear as much about these types of skin cancer as melanoma, but its just as important to know what they are and how they can affect you. Heres what to know.

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Skin Cancer Support Groups And Counseling

Living with skin cancer presents many new challenges for you and for your family and friends. You will probably have many worries about how the cancer will affect you and your ability to “live a normal life,” that is, to care for your family and home, to hold your job, and to continue the friendships and activities you enjoy.

Many people with a skin cancer diagnosis feel anxious and depressed. Some people feel angry and resentful others feel helpless and defeated. For most people with skin cancer, talking about their feelings and concerns helps. Your friends and family members can be very supportive. They may be hesitant to offer support until they see how you are coping. Don’t wait for them to bring it up. If you want to talk about your concerns, let them know.


Some people don’t want to “burden” their loved ones, or prefer talking about their concerns with a more neutral professional. A social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful. Your dermatologist or oncologist should be able to recommend someone.

Many people with cancer are profoundly helped by talking to other people who have cancer. Sharing your concerns with others who have been through the same thing can be remarkably reassuring. Support groups for people with cancer may be available through the medical center where you are receiving your treatment. The American Cancer Society also has information about support groups throughout the U.S.

How Dangerous Is Scc

What is the Difference Between Basal Cell and Squamous ...

While the majority of SCCs can be easily and successfully treated, if allowed to grow, these lesions can become disfiguring, dangerous and even deadly. Untreated SCCs can become invasive, grow into deeper layers of skin and spread to other parts of the body.

Did you know?

Americans die each year from squamous cell carcinoma

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Cutaneous Basal Cell Carcinoma

Cutaneous basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer in White people . It is so named because the cells of basal cell carcinoma resemble the cells of the basal cell layer of the epithelium . Cutaneous basal cell carcinoma affects mainly chronically sun-exposed skin of the head and neck of fair complexioned older people. Both intermittent acute, and long standing continual exposure to UV are high risk factors for cutaneous basal cell carcinoma. It is a slow-growing cancer that if left untreated will invade locally, but only rarely metastasizes. Black people are rarely affected. People with cutaneous basal cell carcinoma are at increased risk for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and cutaneous melanoma .

Although UV-radiation is a primary aetiological factor for cutaneous basal cell carcinoma, the mechanism whereby exposure to UV triggers cutaneous basal cell carcinoma is complex and the details are as yet unknown . The development of cutaneous basal cell carcinoma at sites not exposed to UV is unexplained. Cutaneous basal cell carcinoma usually develops at sites continually exposed to UV which explains why basal cell carcinoma so frequently affects the skin of the head and face .

What Is Squamous Cell

A squamous cell is a type of cell that occurs in the outermost layers of the epidermis. Hence, it is a component of the stratified squamous epithelium. Also, squamous cells are thin and flat. They look like fish scales. Furthermore, the skin constantly shed these cells and the new cells produced by the basal cell layer replace the loss. The main function of the squamous cells is to protect the body from abrasion.

Figure 2: Stratified Squamous Epithelium

Besides, the squamous cell carcinoma is another type of skin cancers that occur in sun-exposed areas. Sometimes, these cancers begin with the actinic keratosis, a pre-invasive skin condition caused by the excessive exposure to the sunlight. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma tends to spread into the underneath layers of the skin very easily.

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What Treatments Are Available For Basal Cell Carcinomas

When caught early, these slow growing basal cell carcinomas are the most easily treatable and curable. We diagnose, monitor and treat the cancer and will develop a treatment plan best suited to the specific type of skin cancer.

The types of treatments available are:

Biopsy this involves removing tissue from the mole or we may decide to remove the entire lump for testing. This may be enough to treat the basal cell carcinoma requiring no further action other than check-ups.

Surgery minor surgery is a common and successful treatment for basal cell carcinomas. They are removed under a local anaesthetic and if the cancer is more advanced, some tissue around the lump may also be removed to ensure there are no cancer cells left. This is called excisional surgery.

  • Mohs micrographically controlled surgery
  • Electrodessication and curettage
  • Laser therapy this involves using a narrow laser beam to destroy the cancer cells.
  • Freezing or cryosurgery this treatment freezes cancer cells with liquid nitrogen and is useful for early stage or superficial skin lesions.
  • Radiation if surgery is not successful, we may use radiation therapy which kills cancer cells using x-rays.
  • Topical Therapies such as Imiquimod Cream

Where Do Skin Cancers Start

Difference Between Basal Cell and Squamous Cell

Most skin cancers start in the top layer of skin, called the epidermis. There are 3 main types of cells in this layer:

  • Squamous cells: These are flat cells in the upper part of the epidermis, which are constantly shed as new ones form. When these cells grow out of control, they can develop into squamous cell skin cancer .
  • Basal cells: These cells are in the lower part of the epidermis, called the basal cell layer. These cells constantly divide to form new cells to replace the squamous cells that wear off the skins surface. As these cells move up in the epidermis, they get flatter, eventually becoming squamous cells. Skin cancers that start in the basal cell layer are called basal cell skin cancers or basal cell carcinomas.
  • Melanocytes: These cells make the brown pigment called melanin, which gives the skin its tan or brown color. Melanin acts as the bodys natural sunscreen, protecting the deeper layers of the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun. Melanoma skin cancer starts in these cells.

The epidermis is separated from the deeper layers of skin by the basement membrane. When a skin cancer becomes more advanced, it generally grows through this barrier and into the deeper layers.

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What Are The Treatment Options For Melanoma

Surgery performed to remove the melanoma while leaving as much nearby skin intact as possible. The surgeon may also remove one or more nearby lymph nodes to look for signs that the cancer has spread.

Targeted therapy uses drugs directed at specific abnormal proteins in cancer cells. Patients whose melanoma carries a mutation in the BRAF gene may be treated with drugs that target the altered BRAF protein or the associated MEK proteins. Three drug combinations have been FDA-approved for metastatic and high-risk melanoma with a BRAF mutation: dabrafenib and trametinib encorafenib and binimetinib and vemurafenib and cobimetinib

Immunotherapy uses the bodys immune system to fight cancer cells. Dana-Farber scientists have led clinical trials of the drug ipilimumab, one of a class of immunotherapy drugs that are helping some patients with advanced melanoma survive 10 years or longer. In other Dana-Farber-led trials, the immunotherapy agent nivolumab achieved three-year survival rates of more than 40% in patients with metastatic melanoma. Dana-Farber investigators have also found that initially treating advanced melanoma patients a combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab results in a much higher response rate than treatment with ipilimumab alone. A range of other clinical trials testing various immunotherapies is also under way for patients with advanced melanoma.

Recurrent Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. These cancers develop within the basal cell layer of the skin, in the lowest part of the epidermis.

Patients who have had basal cell carcinoma once have an increased risk of developing a recurrent basal cell cancer. Basal cell cancers may recur in the same location that the original cancer was found or elsewhere in the body. As many as 50 percent of cancer patients are estimated to experience basal cell carcinoma recurrence within five years of the first diagnosis.

Basal cell carcinomas typically grow slowly, and it is rare for them to metastasize or spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. But early detection and treatment are important.

After completing treatment for basal cell carcinoma, it is important to perform regular self-examinations of the skin to look for new symptoms, such as unusual growths or changes in the size, shape or color of an existing spot. Skin cancers typically develop in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, but they may also develop in areas with no sun exposure. Tell your oncologist or dermatologist about any new symptoms or suspicious changes you may have noticed.

  • Have a history of eczema or dry skin
  • Have been exposed to high doses of UV light
  • Had original carcinomas several layers deep in the skin
  • Had original carcinomas larger than 2 centimeters

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