All About Squamous Cell Carcinomas
As the second most common type of skin cancer, thousands of cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed in Nevada each year. This form of skin cancer may not be as well-known as other forms of cancer, but it still has a significant impact on a person’s health. You can learn more about squamous cell carcinomas by reading this article.
What Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
This type of cancer gets its name because it originates in the squamous cells of the skin. These are the thin, flat cells that grow in both the middle and outside layers of the skin. In healthy people, they fall off after they get old, but in those with a squamous cell carcinoma, the cells begin to mutate and grow abnormally. It most commonly appears on the scalp, ears, lips, and backs of hands, but it can show up on any part of the body. People can even get a squamous cell carcinoma on interior regions of skin, like the inside of the mouth.
Causes of Squamous Cell Carcinomas
At its most basic level, squamous cell carcinomas are caused by damaged skin cells that begin to grow abnormally after being damaged. The most common cause of a squamous cell carcinoma is excess sun exposure, so sunny places like northern Nevada tend to get a lot of cases of this type of cancer. People who spend a lot of time in the sun, use tanning beds, or have fair skin have a heightened risk of developing a squamous cell carcinoma.
What Do Squamous Cell Carcinomas Look Like?
A squamous cell carcinoma is often first mistaken for a sore or a wart. It can look like a flat reddened patch, a crusty sore, a rough scaly patch, or a wart-like area of skin. They may be slightly elevated and have a raised border. Skin around them may look inelastic or wrinkly, and the entire area may feel itchy or bleed occasionally. Unlike a typical sore, a squamous cell carcinoma will not go away.
It is important to seek treatment for a squamous cell carcinoma as soon as possible, so make sure you take the time to talk to your Carson City or Reno dermatologist about any suspected skin abnormalities.