Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Condition: Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Alternative names: SCC, non-melanoma skin cancer.
The incidence of all types of skin cancer has increased dramatically over the last few decades. At the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, we are experts in diagnosing and treating cancer. Whether it be treated by topical therapy, radiotherapy or plastic surgery, you can rest assured that our consultants will provide you with the best possible care. Please see before and after images below of skin cancer treated surgically.

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Remember, the earlier your skin cancer is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is to leave you with scarring.

What is it?

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second commonest form of skin cancer accounting for around 10% of skin cancer in the UK. It is a malignant tumour arising from the epidermis at the skin surface. SCC is classified by its level of ‘differentiation’ (i.e. how abnormal the cells and tumour structure appear under the microscope). Tumours can be well, moderately or poorly differentiated.

The rate of growth and chance of spread of SCC depends on the differentiation the tumour exhibits with well-differentiated tumours being less aggressive than poorly-differentiated ones.

What does it look like?

Squamous carcinomas tend to look like patches or lumps arising from the skin with a scaly surface (see images). They tend to grow in size over time. They may have a crater-like appearance and ulcerate. Sometimes they can discharge foul-smelling yellow keratin, similar to pus.

How might it affect me?

The rate of growth and chance of spread of squamous cell carcinoma depends on the differentiation:

  • Well differentiated SCC tend to grow slowly with a very low chance of spread
  • Moderately differentiated SCC a slightly higher rate of growth and chance of spread than well differentiated tumours
  • Poorly differentiated SCC often rapidly growing and highly likely to spread if left untreated

What are the treatments?

Squamous carcinomas can be treated with surgical excision or localised radiotherapy.

Our consultants at the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic offer diagnosis and treatment to patients with squamous cell carcinoma.

Remember that the earlier your squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed and treated,
the less the cosmetic disfigurement and the less chance of recurrence or spread.

For more information on squamous cell carcinoma, please see the British Association of Dermatologists website SCC advice leaflet.

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Did you know?

Most moles are not a cause for concern and present a purely cosmetic problem. However, moles can occasionally undergo changes that lead to them becoming cancerous.

Acne is a common condition characterised by blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. It affects the greasy and hair-bearing areas such as the face, chest and back.

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