What Does Squamous Cell Carcinoma Look Like
Early signs of squamous cell carcinoma include dome-shaped, slightly protruding bumps or scaly, reddish patches of skin. SCC patches bleed easily when scraped or picked. Larger SCCs often itch and hurt when scratched. In some cases, bumps emerge through scars or sores. Changes to these markings should be reported to a dermatologist. Although SCC bumps or rough patches more commonly develop on sun-exposed areas like the face or scalp, they can arise anywhere on the body.
Cancer Stage Determines Risk Of Spreading And Line Of Treatment
A cancer of the upper layers of the skin in the epidermis, SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma and affects an estimated 1 million new people every year in the United States alone. Cancer staging is done for SCC with the intention of categorizing the size of cancer and to judge how much it has grown. And theres a clear line of treatment and way forward for each stage.1
With skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, the likelihood of cancer spreading to other parts of the body is very low and early diagnosis and treatment usually tackles the problem before it spreads. SCC, however, is a little trickier. While the risk of spreading is still quite small, there is a relatively higher chance of it progressing depending on what stage the cancer is at. For those with weakened immune systems, say, people whove had organ transplants or anyone infected with HIV, the risk is a little higher. Also, when the cancer is in the head and neck region, it may have a slightly higher risk of recurring or spreading.2
The actual stage of this form of cancer is determined based on the TNM protocol devised by the American Joint Commission on Cancer.3
- T : The size/extent of the tumor
- N : Whether it has spread to lymph nodes
- M : Whether it has spread to other parts of the body
How Serious Is Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Skin cancer in general is a slow-developing disease, often taking years to develop, but that does not mean treatment should be delayed. The longer squamous cell carcinoma is ignored, the more time it has to become invasive, potentially burrowing deeper into nearby organs, lymph nodes, and even bones.
- Stage 0: known as carcinoma in situ, this stage means the cancer cells are localized in the topmost layer of the skin
- Stage I: the cancerous area is under 2cm and has not spread
- Stage II: the cancerous area is over 2cm and may have spread to nearby tissue but not lymph nodes
- Stage III: the cancerous area can be any size and has started to spread to lymph nodes
- Stage IV: the cancerous area has become invasive, spreading to other major parts of the body
Delaying squamous cell carcinoma treatment increases risk significantly, so its important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Stage 2 Cervical Cancer
Stage 2 cancer spreads to the parametrium and past the uterus to the upper vagina. Because the tumor is growing into nearby tissue, noticeable symptoms are more likely to occur at this stage.
Symptoms of stage 2 cervical cancer include:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Having heavier or longer periods
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
What Is Squamous Cell Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck
Skin malignancies are the most common cancer in the United States, responsible for more than half of all new cancer cases. These can be broken down into melanoma and non-melanoma malignancies, which are squamous cell cancer and basal cell cancer. These skin malignancies are caused by ultraviolet radiation from exposure to the sun and tanning beds.
Squamous cell cancer is the second most common form of skin cancer. It is more aggressive and may require extensive surgery depending on location and nerve involvement. Radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy are used in advanced cases.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of Cervix
Usually, there are no symptoms, during the pre-cancer and early cancer stages . Once, Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Cervix has sufficiently progressed and the presence of large-sized tumors is seen, the following set of signs and symptoms may be observed:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Loss of weight, loss of appetite
During the advanced stages of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Cervix, the following signs and symptoms may be observed:
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination
- Urinary bladder pain and blood in urine
- The tumor may spread from the cervix to the ureters leading to decreased urine production by the kidneys and increased blood urea levels
- Involvement of the pelvic muscles by tumor cells can cause pain radiating along the leg
- Occasionally, swollen lymph nodes in the groin and lower extremities, may be noted due to tumor metastasis
- If the urinary bladder is involved, then it may obstruct the bladder and lead to retention of urine
- Urinary retention can cause the abnormal formation of a fistula in the urogenital area
- Rectal tenesmus or the urge to keep emptying the bowel, even after it is emptied
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Risk Factors
Certain things make you more likely to develop SCC:
Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in skin conditions. They will:
- Ask about your medical history
- Ask about your history of severe sunburns or indoor tanning
- Ask if you have any pain or other symptoms
- Ask when the spot first appeared
- Give you a physical exam to check the size, shape, color, and texture of the spot
- Look for other spots on your body
- Feel your lymph nodes to make sure they arent bigger or harder than normal
If your doctor thinks a bump looks questionable, theyll remove a sample of the spot to send to a lab for testing.
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From The Harvard Health Letter May 2006
Summers the season for fun in the sunbut also for skin cancer. Of the three main types of skin cancer, melanoma is most deadly, and basal cell, most common. 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 . Treated early, the cure rate is over 90%, but metastases occur in 1%5% of cases. After it has metastasized, its very difficult to treat.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Squamous cell carcinomas detected at an early stage and removed promptly are almost always curable and cause minimal damage. However, left untreated, they may grow to the point of being very difficult to treat.
A small percentage may even metastasize to distant tissues and organs. Your doctor can help you determine if a particular SCC is at increased risk for metastasis and may need treatment beyond simple excision.
Fortunately, there are several effective ways to treat squamous cell carcinoma. The choice of treatment is based on the type, size, location, and depth of penetration of the tumor, as well as the patients age and general health. Squamous cell carcinoma treatment can almost always be performed on an outpatient basis.
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Squamous Cell Carcinoma Causes
Exposure to ultraviolet rays, like the ones from the sun or a tanning bed, affects the cells in the middle and outer layers of your skin and can cause them to make too many cells and not die off as they should. This can lead to out-of-control growth of these cells, which can lead to squamous cell carcinoma.
Other things can contribute to this kind of overgrowth, too, like conditions that affect your immune system.
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Stages Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Esophagus
Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is staged differently than adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
The most common staging system for SCC of the esophagus is the TNM system. For SCC of the esophagus there are 5 stages stage 0 followed by stages 1 to 4. Often the stages 1 to 4 are written as the Roman numerals I, II, III and IV. Generally, the higher the stage number, the more the cancer has spread. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about staging.
In some cases, the stage also depends on where the tumour is located along the esophagus the upper, middle or lower part.
The stages of SCC of the esophagus also depend on the grade.
Find out more about and .
The esophagus is made up of different layers of tissues. The stage often depends on which layer the tumour has grown into.
What Is The Prognosis Of Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of Anus
- The prognosis of Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Anus depends upon many factors, such as the age of the individual, their health status, and stage of tumor at diagnosis
- Without treatment , invasive carcinomas can metastasize aggressively and this may result in a poor prognosis
- The outcomes are excellent with early diagnosis and treatment of squamous cell carcinoma in situ
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Factors That Could Affect Your Prognosis
Certain aspects of your health or cancer could affect your outlook. For example, people who have a weakened immune system from a disease like HIV or a medication they take tend to have a less positive outlook.
The location of the tumor also matters. Cancers on the face, scalp, fingers, and toes are more likely to spread and return than those on other parts of the body. SCC that starts in an open wound is also more likely to spread.
Larger tumors or ones that have grown deep in the skin have a higher risk of growing or returning. If a cancer does recur after treatment, the prognosis is less positive than it was the first time around.
Ask your doctor if you have any risk factors that can be managed or controlled. You may need more aggressive treatment, or to be monitored more closely for recurrence.
Contact The Skin Cancer Expert
Dr. Daniel C. Allison is a renowned orthopedic oncologist who has extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating various cancers including squamous cell and melanoma. He understands the complexities of cancer and is the ideal physician for providing you with a personalized treatment plan. Contact us today for a personal consultation at 310.683.4586 and learn how we can help you.
How To Tell If Squamous Cell Carcinoma Has Spread
Many doctors will order a PET or CT scan once a squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis has been reached to ensure the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body and is contained within the layers of the skin. Your doctor may also test your lymph nodes near the tumor site.
Diagnostic services, staging services and a comprehensive range of treatments are all available at Moffitt Cancer Center, and referrals are not required. To learn more about squamous cell carcinoma stages and the treatment options for each, call or submit a new patient registration form online.
What Is Stage 4 Cervical Cancer
Stage 4 cervical cancer is cancer that has grown into other organs or has metastasized. Stage 4 cervical cancer has grown into the bladder, rectum or distant organs . Stage 4 cervical cancer is divided into A and B.
- 4A: The cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum or outside of the pelvis.
- 4B: The cancer has metastasized to organs or lymph nodes outside the pelvic area.
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Classification Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma By Risk
Cutaneous SCC is classified as low-risk or high-risk, depending on the chance of tumour recurrence and metastasis. Characteristics of high-risk SCC include:
High-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma has the following characteristics:
- Diameter greater than or equal to 2 cm
- Location on the ear, vermilion of the lip, central face, hands, feet, genitalia
- Arising in elderly or immune suppressed patient
- Histological thickness greater than 2 mm, poorly differentiated histology, or with the invasion of the subcutaneous tissue, nerves and blood vessels
Metastatic SCC is found in regional lymph nodes , lungs, liver, brain, bones and skin.
High-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
What Causes Squamous Cell Cancer
Skin cancer is caused by mutations that occur in skin cell DNA. These changes cause abnormal cells to multiply out of control. When this occurs in the squamous cells, the condition is known as SCC.
UV radiation is the most common cause of the DNA mutations that lead to skin cancer. UV radiation is found in sunlight as well as in tanning lamps and beds.
While frequent exposure to UV radiation greatly increases your risk of skin cancer, the condition can also develop in people who dont spend much time in the sun or in tanning beds.
These people may be genetically predisposed to skin cancer, or they may have weakened immune systems that increase their likelihood of getting skin cancer.
Those who have received radiation treatment may also be at greater risk of skin cancer.
Risk factors for SCC include:
- having fair skin
- having light-colored hair and blue, green, or gray eyes
- having long-term exposure to UV radiation
- living in sunny regions or at a high altitude
- having a history of multiple severe sunburns, especially if they occurred early in life
- having a history of being exposed to chemicals, such as arsenic
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What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. Your doctor will want you to check your skin at least once a month. It will be very important to protect yourself from getting too much sun.
For years after treatment ends, you will see your skin cancer doctor. At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. Your doctor will ask about symptoms and check you for signs of the cancer coming back or a new skin cancer. Other exams and tests may also be done.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as good as you can.
Understanding The Stages Of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of gynecologic cancers, with 6 in 1,000 women receiving a cervical cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. In 2020, American Cancer Societys estimates there were an estimated 14,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer diagnosed in the United States.
With regular gynecologic screenings, your doctor may be able to identify cervical cancer earlier. The earlier cervical cancer is diagnosed the greater your chances for recovering from the disease.
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Understanding Your Stage Of Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
The stage is based on the size of the tumor, how deeply into the skin it has grown, and whether cancer has spread beyond the tumor to the lymph nodes. Your doctor will look at the results of the biopsy to determine the stage. If you have squamous cell skin cancer, your doctor may also recommend imaging such as CT or PET-CT scan, or testing lymph nodes near the tumor to see if the cancer has spread beyond the skin.
Most non-melanoma skin cancers are Stage 0 or Stage 1. Stage 3 and 4 are relatively rare. Based on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, your overall health, and other factors, your doctor works with you to develop a treatment plan.
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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