What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. Compared to most common
Basal Cell Carcinoma, SCC is a more
aggressive tumor with a higher likelihood to spread from the skin to distant sites. The overall
metastatic rate for SCC is 3%, although in locations such as the lip, the rate can be as high as 15%.
SCC most often occurs on sun exposed skin and arises in the background of chronically sun damaged skin
with the precancerous change known as actinic keratosis. Fair-skinned individuals with a tendency to
burn are at greatest risk. Long term sun exposure, previous trauma (particularly burn injuries),
radiation exposure, and a suppressed immune system are all risk factors for SCC.
SCC most often presents as a firm, red, scaly bump on the skin that is often painful. SCC’s can
sometimes grow at an alarming rate, making prompt diagnosis and treatment essential.
At the Treasure Valley Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, we use a
variety of skin cancer treatment
options dependent on the type, size, and location of the cancer. Some examples of treatment
strategies we use include:
Surgery: Mohs micrographic surgery offers the highest cure rates and remains the
“gold standard” treatment with cure approaching 99%. Mohs surgery is the treatment of choice for
tumors occurring on the head and neck. We perform this technique in the office under local anesthesia,
which significantly decreases the cost of treatment versus going into a hospital or surgical center.
Our doctors are also trained in reconstructive techniques to minimize the appearance of a scar after
Surgical Excision: Surgical removal offers the highest cure rates and remains the
“gold standard” treatment with cure approaching 99%. Traditional surgical excision is used most
commonly on the trunk and extremities.
Electrodessication and Curettage (ED &C): This procedure involves scraping the
tumor from the skin followed by cautery of the base. It is most commonly used for non-invasive forms
Topical Medications: Topicals immunomodulatory agents such as Imiquimod, or topical
chemotherapy drugs such as 5-fluorouracil can be used in select tumors alone or in combination with
Radiation Therapy: Most frequently used for tumors not easily treated with surgery or
other methods listed above.
Treasure Valley Dermatology provider will advise you of your
best treatment options for diagnosing and treating SCC.
The main preventative measure for SCC as well for all forms of skin cancer is proper sun protection
with adequate clothing, a hat and broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on all sun exposed skin.
Regular skin examinations with your dermatologist/dermatology provider enable early diagnosis and
treatment of SCC and the best chance of cure.
To receive a skin examination or dermatologic treatment,
request an appointment or call Treasure Valley Dermatology & Skin Cancer
Center in Boise today.
Mohs micrographic surgery offers the highest cure rates and remains the “gold standard” treatment
with cure approaching 99%.