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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer, and often occur in elderly people who have had extensive sun exposure over their lifetimes.

SCC often appear on the forearms, lower legs and face of people who have spent a long time out in the sun, such as truck drivers, trades people or anyone who is outdoors for their work or leisure activities. They appear as a scaly lump that can sometimes grow rapidly and is often a little tender to touch. Sometimes they appear and a pink scaly patch on the skin that slowly grows over many months or years.

squamous-cell-carcinomaThe treatment for SCC is usually excision, although small superficial tumours on low risk areas of the body may be suitable for curettage. Tumours on the face are generally regarded as higher risk and treated with excision. Large tumours may require flaps or grafts to close the wound.

SCC has the ability to metastasize or spread to distant sites, but will usually only do this if they are of an aggressive subtype, occur on very high risk areas such as the lip, ear or nose, or have been ignored and left to grow to a large size. Some tumours can grow very quickly and require rapid treatment to prevent complications such as metastasis or the need for complex closures such as skin grafts. Their tendency to form on the lower legs of elderly people can require the use of skin grafts to close the wound, and the poor healing here can put the patient at risk of an ulcer if not treated promptly and well.