Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cells carcinomas are the second most common type of skin cancer, accounting for approximately 20 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers. They develop from the flat, squamous cells that are the primary cell type making up the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis.

Diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma

Tests and procedures for diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma usually include a physical examination and a biopsy. During a biopsy, your doctor will numb the area before removing a sample of tissue for testing.

There are several different biopsy methods. An excisional biopsy, in which the doctor removes the entire growth, is often sufficient to treat this type of skin cancer.

Squamous cell carcinoma treatment & therapy options

Treatment for squamous cell carcinoma depends on the size, location and aggressiveness of the tumor, as well as your personal preferences.

Surgery is the primary treatment for most skin cancers, including squamous cell carcinomas. A surgeon will typically perform skin cancer surgery to remove a localized skin cancer. For skin cancers that have not spread, surgery may be curative, and no other treatment may be needed.

In some cases, nonsurgical forms of therapy may be used to remove or destroy a localized skin cancer. These techniques are most often used for treating small, early stage basal or squamous cell carcinomas. Some non-surgical procedures include: cryotherapy, photodynamic therapy, topical chemotherapy, immune response modifiers and laser surgery.

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A team of cancer experts

an expert team just for you

At CTCA, you will be cared for by a team of experienced oncologists and other cancer experts.