Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Like most other types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinomas are usually the result of overexposure to the sun or other UV light sources and so appear on exposed portions of the body. Strangely, individuals with darker skin are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma on parts of their bodies not often exposed to the sun. Squamous cell carcinomas appear as firm red nodules or slightly raised lesions with a scaly, crusted surface. Though highly treatable if detected early, squamous cell skin cancers can metastasize.

Squamous cells are found in the upper layer (the surface) of the epidermis. They look like fish scales under a microscope and present as a crusted or scaly patch of skin with an inflamed, red base. They are often tender to the touch. Squamous cell carcinoma can develop anywhere, including inside the mouth and on the genitalia. It most frequently appears on the scalp, face, ears and back of hands. Squamous cell carcinoma tends to develop among fair-skinned, middle-aged and elderly people who have a history of sun exposure. Highly treatable if detected early, This skin cancer can metastasize. Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed via a biopsy.