Squamous cell carcinoma
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* This section is provided free of charge to you from the American Academy of Dermatology's library. We do not treat all conditions listed here, nor do we perform all treatments discussed in this section. This is purely meant to be a reliable resource for patients with an interest in, or questions about, a wide array of dermatologic topics.
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Squamous cell carcinoma: Overview
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common skin cancer in humans. About 700,000 new cases of this skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.
This skin cancer tends to develop on skin that has been exposed to the sun for years. It is most frequently seen on sun-exposed areas, such as the head, neck, and back of the hands. Women frequently get SCC on their lower legs.
It is possible to get SCC on any part of the body, including the inside of the mouth, lips, and genitals.
People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of getting SCC. They also tend to get SCC earlier in life.
SCC can spread to other parts of the body. With early diagnosis and treatment, SCC is highly curable.
Ferrucci LM, Cartmel B, Molinaro AM et al. “Indoor tanning and risk of early-onset basal cell carcinoma.” J Am Acad Dermatol 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.11.940. (Article in Press).
Grossman D, Leffell DJ. “Squamous cell carcinoma.” In: Wolff K et al. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th edition. USA. McGraw Hill Medical; 2008, p. 1028-36.
Rogers, HW, Weinstock, MA, Harris, AR et al. “Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006.” Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):283-287.