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What does squamous cell carcinoma look like?

What does squamous cell carcinoma look like?

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) can vary in appearance. It appears initially as a scaly or crusty, raised area of skin. It is red and has an inflamed base. Sometimes SCC’s can be sore and tender and bleed, but this is not always the case. They can even ulcerate.
SCC can occur on any part of the body. They are much more common on sun-exposed sites: the head, ears, neck, back of the hands and front of the legs.

How do I know if I have squamous cell carcinoma?

If you have a scaly raised skin lesion as above, you should see your dermatology consultant. Your GP can refer you. Dr Jennifer Crawley is the dermatologist here at Clinica London. For her to confirm the diagnosis, she will have to take a small incisional biopsy of the abnormal skin. She may even take out the whole area, as an excisional biopsy. This is done as a day case under a local anaesthetic, and then the specimen is sent to the pathologist to be examined under the microscope. The results are usually available within a week.
She will then advise you on how to cure this squamous cell carcinoma. The vast majority of SCC’s are low-risk skin cancers and curable. A small number can recur and will spread (metastasise) to a lymph node, or another part of the body. This is more common if you are immunosuppressed because of drugs or illness.

Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma is usually by surgical excision. This means removing the lesion with a small amount of normal margin of skin around it and then using fine little stitches to close the skin. If it is a large lesion, a skin graft can be needed. Sometimes other surgical methods, such as curetting and cautery work. This is where the SCC is scraped away from the skin under local anaesthetic. For advanced SCC, of course, a combination of treatments may be used.


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