A thorough physical examination by a doctor, could reveal any abnormalities. Such abnormalities may make the doctor decide to send a sample for biopsy. A biopsy usually involves removing a tiny portion of the skin from the affected area. This sample is sent to a laboratory for testing. Sometimes the doctor may suggest removing a larger part or maybe even all of the abnormal growth for testing. They also test the sample for metastasis.
Did you know that, squamous cell carcinomas detected at an early stage and removed by surgical excision are almost always curable? Well that is the truth. But if left untreated, they could penetrate to the underlying tisues and cause major disfigurement. If the SCC is at an early stage, excising it out via surgery is the best, cleanest and most effective way of treating SCC. Some people may think the topical creams available can help cure SCC at an early stage. While there may be findings to support that, it is always best to go for surgical removal of the growth. Surgery may sound like a horrible ordeal. However, it is the best way to go about it rather than apply creams and waste time. You could be playing with your life the longer you delay. For advanced cases, radiation is also performed to curb the metastasis and to keep the cells from multiplying rapidly. Laser surgery to remove the affected skin cells is also a popular option.
SCC if detected early has a good survival rate. But once rampant metastasis happens, the condition can be life-threatening.
How does SCC spread?
In the case of cancer, metastasis is something that is always checked. Metastasis is the medical term for development of new growths thats are a bit away from the original site (primary site of cancer). This shows that the cancer is capable of spreading to other parts of the body. For many types of cancer, the term metastatic cancer is synonymous with stage IV cancer. Cancer cells that break away from the primary site, enter the bloodstream or the lymphatic system of the body. From there they reach other locations. The most common sites of metastasis are the liver, bone and lungs.
Who is at risk?
Risk factors for SCC include:
- Anyone with long-term exposure to UV radiation.
- Those with multiple severe sunburns and history of sunburns.
- Those who have lighter skin complexion.
- Those who have light-colored hair.
- Those who have blue, green, or gray eyes.
- People with actinic keratosis. Read more about actinic keratosis
- Those who have Bowens disease.
- Darker complexions have more aggressive forms of SCC.