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Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the thin, flat squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is usually not life-threatening, though it can be aggressive in some cases. Untreated, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications.

Most squamous cell carcinomas of the skin result from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps. Avoiding UV light helps reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and other forms of skin cancer.

Squamous cells are found in many places in your body and squamous cell carcinoma can occur in anywhere squamous cells are found. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin refers to cancer that forms in the squamous cells found in the skin.


Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin most often occurs on sun-exposed skin, such as your scalp, the backs of your hands or your ears. But squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can occur anywhere on your body, including inside your mouth, on your anus and on your genitals.

Signs and symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include:

  • A firm, red nodule
  • A flat sore with a scaly crust
  • A new sore or raised area on an old scar or ulcer
  • A rough, scaly patch on your lip that may evolve to an open sore
  • A red sore or rough patch inside your mouth
  • A red, raised patch or wart-like sore on or in the anus or on your genitals

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have a sore or scab that doesn't heal in about two months or a flat patch of scaly skin that won't go away.


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