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Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin – warning, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment – Zdrowie Wprost

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin - warning, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment - Zdrowie Wprost

Squamous cell carcinoma (squamous cell carcinoma of the skin) is a malignant disease that can lead to early death. This disease is one of the most common types of skin cancer. Its symptoms are quite specific – squamous cell carcinoma causes skin changes, for example. Ulcers and warts. Because of the high risks associated with the development of melanoma, it is necessary to diagnose all changes that appear on it, which do not disappear under the influence of treatment.

Malignant skin tumors – what is worth knowing?

Not every chronically occurring skin lesion is precancerous. However, there are certain characteristics of skin cancer that each of us should know, which will allow to diagnose the disease at an early stage and carry out effective treatment.

We primarily associate melanoma with melanoma, but there are also other skin malignancies. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is the second most common type of skin cancer. The first place is taken by basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

In melanoma, it is a cancer that arises from the melanoma cells of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is a malignant tumor arising from epithelial cells and keratinocytes, leading to confusion of associated changes with symptoms of allergic reactions or recurrent skin diseases.


Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are the two most commonly diagnosed types of skin malignancy in people with fair skin. The incidence of these types of fast-growing cancers is remarkable, and is actively linked to, among other things, environmental factors. In the case of squamous cell carcinoma it is a non-pigmented lesion that affects its appearance. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin causes metastases to local lymph nodes and distant metastases, for example, to the brain, lungs and bones. At the initial stage of development, it is almost 100% treatable, so we must pay special attention to each incurable and enlarged lesion that occurs on the skin and on the borders of the skin and mucous membranes.

The development of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is influenced by certain risk factors. Most of them can be avoided, thereby reducing the risks associated with the occurrence of changes in neoplasms. Removing the lesion does not guarantee that the disease will not recur. This is the case with squamous cell carcinoma, therefore, after removal of the lesions, it is necessary to systematically monitor the state of health and avoid factors that may lead to the appearance of neoplastic lesions.

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What you should know about cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma? – Diagnosis of the patient

As mentioned earlier, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is diagnosed primarily in people with fair skin. For many years, an increase in the number of cases diagnosed with this malignant tumor has been observed, which is associated, inter alia, with a change in lifestyle and the “fashion” to use sunbathing and solarium. Risk factors that significantly influence the development of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include:

  • UV ,
  • light skin
  • chemical agents,
  • frequent exposure to the sun in childhood,
  • genetic predispositions,
  • Chronic treatment reduces immunity.

The factor that increases the risk of developing a squamous cell tumor of the skin is primarily solar radiation. This cancer arises from epithelial cells and cells that become keratinized when the body is exposed to sunlight. The risk of squamous cell carcinoma also increases due to immunodeficiency diseases as a result of the disease process, drug therapy and the use of certain medical procedures. Immunity is greatly weakened after organ transplants, for example, which is associated with the use of treatments aimed at avoiding rejection of the transplanted organ. It should be noted that chronic exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation, as well as chemicals and toxins contained, for example, in cigarette smoke, increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma on the skin and at the borders of the skin and mucous membranes. membranes; Squamous cell carcinoma around the lips most often develops in heavy tobacco smokers and alcohol users.

Squamous cell carcinoma most often occurs in people of middle and old age, which is associated with the long-term influence of factors that lead to the development of the disease on the body. Exposed parts of the body and skin, which are in long-term contact, for example, chemicals and other mutagenic substances, are especially susceptible to cancer. People whose skin is mechanically damaged frequently, for example when shaving facial hair, are also at risk of developing skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma can also form from scarring.

The prognosis for squamous cell carcinoma depends on the stage of the disease. As mentioned earlier, early lesions are 100% curable. If metastases occur, for example, in the lungs, brain or lymph nodes, treatment can be difficult, especially in patients with chronic diseases or the elderly and disorders related to the function of the organism.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin – types

There are two types of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. The ulcerative variety is associated with a worse prognosis, which is associated with infiltration into the surrounding tissues. The second type of squamous cell carcinoma is the papillary type. In this case, we are dealing with limited tissue infiltration and better prognosis. The papillary variety causes neoplastic lesions to rise more above the surface of the skin.

Causes of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin

The causes of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin are directly related to risk factors for developing this skin cancer. One of the most common causes is the regular exposure of exposed skin to UV rays. Resigning the use of highly filtered protective creams, which allow the formation of sunburns in childhood and early adolescence, as well as the use of a solarium significantly increases the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and other skin cancers. In the case of squamous cell carcinoma, there is also a high risk of developing changes due to mechanical damage to the skin, its constant irritation, for example as a result of disorders manifested by uncontrolled scratching or constant sucking of the skin.

Some viral infections also contribute to the development of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. HPV infection is another reason for the development of neoplastic changes that originate from epithelial cells. In the case of squamous cell carcinoma, there are precancerous conditions that lead to changes in the tumors. This includes actinic keratosis and leukoplakia. Post-thrombotic syndrome can also lead to the development of squamous cell carcinoma, which leads to the formation of difficult-to-heal wounds on the skin, for example in the lower extremities. We distinguish several environmental factors, the action of which contributes to the formation of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, but genetic determinants are of equal importance. For this reason, people with a family history of malignant melanoma should be especially careful to avoid risk factors.

What does squamous cell carcinoma of the skin look like? – symptoms

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can take many different forms. The initial symptoms are nonspecific, similar to various skin diseases, which are related to keratinization and peeling of the epidermis. The affected skin may develop a small bump, itchy or burning bump, a non-healing wound or ulcer. The lesions are often covered with a crust and have the form of an infiltrate slightly raised above the surface of the skin.

It is not possible to make a self-diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Particular attention should be paid to recurrent ulcers that appear on exposed areas of the body, which are often exposed to ultraviolet rays or chemicals.

How to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the skin?

The severity of the disease affects the choice of treatment method for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. In the case of lesions detected at an early stage, surgical excision of the lesion with an appropriate margin of healthy tissue is sufficient. Thanks to the procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, it is possible to reduce the risk of spreading metastases to the lymph nodes and important internal organs. The procedure is not complicated and does not pose a health risk. If the lesion is extensive, an operation can be performed to restore the aesthetic appearance of the skin. Skin plastic surgery is used primarily in the case of neoplastic lesions that infiltrate deeply, because after their excision, significant tissue loss appears. Treatment for metastatic squamous cell carcinoma includes the use of radio or chemotherapy in addition to removing the lymph nodes that the tumor is attacking.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin – how to prevent its recurrence?

In order to prevent the recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma, it is necessary to minimize the negative effects of all risk factors on the skin. This means that it is necessary to avoid ultraviolet rays and pay attention to the proper protection of the skin from its effects. Remember to forgo sunbathing and stay in the sun for long afternoons and noon hours. To prevent squamous cell carcinoma from recurring, you also need to protect your skin from frequent injuries and exposure to chemicals. Frequent medical examinations of the lymph nodes are recommended, and any lesions that appear on the skin that may indicate a recurring cancer are diagnosed.


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