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Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

Squamous cell skin cancer (carcinoma) is a type of skin cancer that is the second most frequently occurring type after basal cell carcinoma.  Squamous cell skin cancer can occur frequently on sun-exposed areas like the nose, ears, head, and hands.  This type of cancer may also appear on areas of the skin that have been damaged in some accident or chemical related problem.  Unlike basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell skin cancer can develop fairly quickly and spread to other areas of the body.

Squamous cell skin cancer occurs alongside long-term sun exposure or UV light exposure.  Some areas of the body that the cancer particularly appears on are the tips of the ears and the lower lip region.  Some types of squamous cell skin cancer occur alongside a skin infection or other immunosuppressive ailments.  There are rare types of squamous cell skin cancer that occur without any obvious provocation.  These types are thought to be caused by genetics.

Most squamous cell skin cancer types occur in people with light skin, light hair, and either blue, green, or gray colored eyes.  People who spend a lot of time outside either for business or pleasure are also at risk.  Darker skinned people are at a much lower risk of having squamous cell skin cancer.

There are several indicators of squamous skin cancer that may appear on the body before the cancer develops.  Actinic, or solar, keratosis is a type of growth that appears and is raised, rough, and scaly.  Actinic keratosis usually occurs in older people and the growths may be dark brown or reddish in color.

Actinic cheilitis is a kind of actinic keratosis that occurs on the lips.  The lips then go on to form dry, scaly lines and become lighter in color.  Actinic cheilitis is a symptom that may become squamous cell skin cancer and affects the lower lip mainly.

Symptoms of leukoplakia, a skin disorder that is linked to squamous carcinoma, include white areas that appear on the tongue or inside the mouth.  Bowen's disease was thought to not be cancerous, but now is accepted as being an early form of squamous cell skin cancer.  Bowen's disease appears as a dark reddened patch of skin that doesn't go away with time.
Treatment options for squamous cell skin cancer are most effective the earlier the diagnosis.  In any case of abnormal skin growth or patchy skin that does not go away, a visit to a dermatologist or primary care physician is key in making a fast and comprehensive diagnosis.  Most cases of squamous cell skin cancer are treated quickly and the disease does not reappear.  At times the cancer can spread to other areas, causing a much more prolonged and problematic treatment.  Early detection by the patient themselves usually saves any problems from occurring later in life.