While skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer forms, it’s also one of the most treatable. If you detect any early-onset signs of skin cancer, it’s vital that you act with due diligence and seek accessible medical help as soon as possible in order to maintain spread.
Where is Squamous Cell Cancer Located?
Squamous cells are flat-lying cells, near the top of the skin. They are constantly rejuvenating and shedding to keep skin healthy and alive. However, if damaged, these cells develop abnormalities that can grow cancerous. This can happen anywhere on the skin, making them non-regional specific. Some areas, such as the ears, lips, and genitals, are more susceptible to squamous cell cancer, simply because the skin in these areas is more sensitive.
How Does it Impact Your Body?
Squamous cell carcinoma has an obvious, external impact on the body since it manifests as an external skin tumor. This starts as a benign skin growth, known as actinic keratosis, but in time the cancer spreads.
Are There Different Types of Squamous Cell Cancer?
Squamous cell cancer (SCC) is the second most prevalent type of skin cancer, behind Basal Cell Cancer (BCC). Where SCC affects the structural top layer of skin cells known as keratinocytes, BCC affects the epidermis, which is the outer or surface layer of skin cells.
Squamous Cell Cancer Statistics
Squamous cell cancer affects 1 million people in the US annually, with a mortality rate of 15,000. That said, when recognized and treated early, it’s one of the most containable and preventable cancers.
SCC is rapidly growing in prevalence. In the last three decades alone the disease has increased at a rate of 200%.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are multiple causes and risk factors, both external and genetic, that can contribute to the risk of SCC.
- Genetic causes
- Fair skin
- Red hair
- Freckles or moles
- Blue eyes
- External causes
- Exposure to UV rays
- Sun damage
- Taking immunosuppressant drugs
- Exposure to harsh industrial chemicals including tar or arsenic
Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging
Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma Cancer
Symptoms of SCC include inflamed, skin lesions or crusty tumors. While small in size, these raw irritations can be extremely painful. It’s crucial to be aware of any precancerous skin growths of sun damage since SCC can easily foster and harness these environments to spread.
The Different Stages of Squamous Cell Cancer
Oncologists stage SCC according to the spread of the abnormal squamous cells. While the disease starts in a targeted tumor area, the cancer cells multiply swiftly to affect local tissue and lymph nodes. Doctors recommend radiation therapy as an initial means of limiting growth since this directly targets and prevents the cells’ ability to multiply further.
Since SCC tumors are surface-level they require a specific kind of radiation, known as beam radiation, which doesn’t penetrate the skin and affect tissue or organ below skin level. Since this radiation is a low dosage, it demands a consistent application and is often administered in daily doses for weeks at a time
Once SCC metastasizes it spreads to further tissue around the body. In these instances, doctors will perform surgery to remove the growth. In minor cases, a skin lesion excision is performed, which targets only the infected cancerous growth. In more severe cases an oncologist would perform MOHs micrographic surgery, an excision that removes not only the encrusted skin tumor, the healthy areas around it in order to run further testing and prohibit further spread. The latter typically requires minor reconstructive plastic surgery in order to heal well.
Alternative Treatments for Squamous Cell Cancer
Traditional treatments for cancer include surgery to remove cancer cells and tissue or decrease fluid buildup, chemotherapy, and radiation. While these medical treatments may be effective, they can come with potential side effects that leave you weak and make your quality of life rather painful. Alternative therapies offer natural remedies that can encourage treatment and potentially reduce the severity of side effects.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide a fully customized alternative treatment for patients diagnosed with cancer and other chronic conditions. Our team is committed to attentive, individualized cancer care with the understanding that everyone’s health is different. Through one-on-one time with Dr. Bautista, we can develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs and fully adjustable based on changes to your health.
The Final Word
While the outward signs of SCC appear daunting, it’s important to remember that this is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Therapies and treatments are available through both mainstream and alternative or holistic healing routes. Take time in researching, ask questions, and find a treatment style that suits you and your lifestyle.
Skin Cancer Foundation, Squamous Cell Cancer Overview, https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/squamous-cell-carcinoma/
UCLA Health, Skin Cancer, https://www.uclahealth.org/radonc/skin-cancer
Columbia Surgery, Skin Lesion Excision, https://columbiasurgery.org/conditions-and-treatments/skin-lesion-excision