Squamous Cell Carcinoma Specialist

Alexander D Stein, MD, FAAD, FASDS, FASMS -  - Dermatologist

Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery

Alexander D Stein, MD, FAAD, FASDS, FASMS

Dermatologist & Mohs Surgery located in Chula Vista, CA

More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) every year, making it the second most common type of skin cancer. Though not usually life-threatening, SCC is an aggressive type of skin cancer that can damage surrounding tissue. At Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery in Chula Vista, California, board-certified dermatologist Alexander Stein MD, FAAD, FASDS, and the team offer advanced diagnostic tools and treatments for squamous cell carcinoma. To schedule a consultation, contact the office by phone or book online today.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Q & A

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a type of skin cancer that causes abnormal growth of your squamous cells. Your squamous cells are the flat, thin skin cells found in the outer and middle layers of your skin.

Mutations in the DNA of your squamous cells lead to SCC, triggering an overgrowth of cells. Damaging ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning bed may cause the change in your DNA. However, other factors may also increase your risk of developing SCC, such as:

  • Family history
  • Weakened immune system
  • Fair skin
  • History of frequent sunburns

When left untreated, SCC grows and destroys healthy tissue. It may also spread to your lymph nodes or other organs. 

What are the symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma?

SCC most often develops in the areas of your body that get the most sun exposure, such as your scalp, ears, back of your hands, and lips. 

Signs and symptoms of SCC include:

  • Firm bump
  • Red, scaly patch
  • Flat sore with a scaly crust
  • New sore on an old scar
  • A scaly patch of skin that turns into an ulcer (non-healing wound)

SCC may also develop on areas of your body not exposed to the sun, including the inside of your mouth or genitals. 

How is squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed?

When you visit Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery with concerns about skin cancer or SCC, the team conducts a thorough evaluation to help you get the right diagnoses. During your exam, your provider asks detailed questions about your symptoms, sun exposure history, and family history, then examines your skin. 

To confirm or rule out SCC, your provider takes a biopsy of the lesion and sends it to the lab for evaluation. 

How is squamous cell carcinoma treated?

Removal of your SCC lesion is the primary treatment for this type of skin cancer. There are many techniques the team at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery may use to get rid of your lesion, such as:

  • Curettage and electrodesiccation
  • Freezing
  • Laser therapy
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Surgical excision

The procedure they use depends on the size, location, and depth of the cancer.

If your lesion is invasive, the team at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery may recommend Mohs surgery.

To learn more about your treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma, call Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery, or schedule an appointment online today.