Skin Cancer : Prevention, Treatment & Care


  Prevention & Care


Prevention and Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma


  • Sun damage, especially if chronic as part of a lifestyle, is the most important environmental factor for preventing SCC.
  • Use sunscreens with broad spectrum protection, with an SPF of 15 or higher on a regular basis. Regularity of use is critical here. UV rays continuously damage the skin during regular exposure; damage is not confined to special occasions like beaching or hiking.
  • Exercise, and eat healthy
  • Stop smoking, and reduce your exposure to cigarettes via second hand smoke
  • Reduce your alcohol intake, as excess alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system, which will put you at greater risk of developing cancer, and will also cause other harm.
  • Remember that prevention is the best cure. All preventative steps will benefit you in many ways. Sun damage causes all sorts of other cosmetic problems related to premature aging, and living a healthier lifestyle will protect you from other types of ailments as well.


  • Check your skin periodically for any changes. Remember that while the dermatologist is the expert, it will likely be you that initially finds the lesion suspicious.
  • Check, or have your partner check your skin once every 3 months. It should take no longer than 10 or 15 minutes for a thorough check. These 15 minutes can potentially save your life.
  • Know if you have any risk factors that increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, unlike Basal Cell Carcinoma, can metastasize if left too long. If you find a suspicious lesion, visit your dermatologist and have it checked. It is much better to be safe than sorry.


  • Excision of the affected skin is the most common and effective method of treating squamous cell carcinoma. A margin of healthy skin surrounding the border is also taken for safety, reducing the chances of recurrence.
  • Mohs surgery is also frequently used. With this method, skin is removed layer by layer, and analyzed by a pathologist under there is no longer any sign of skin cancer. This method reduces the amount of healthy skin that is removed due to the extra step in analysis.
  • Imiquimod (Aldara®) can be used to treat SCCs that are in its earliest stage (in situ). Unlike surgery, it rarely leaves a scar, and its result is a major cosmetic advantage. The drawback is the prolonged pain and discomfort during treatment. Additionally, it can only be used for certain types of SCC which are considered lower risk.

Most cases of squamous cell carcinomas are treated using one or more of these methods. Compared to basal cell carcinomas, a larger margin of healthy skin is removed when treating squamous cell carcinoma as SCCs have the potential to spread. It is important that all cancerous lesions are removed to ensure safety. The choice of therapy will depend on size, location, grade, and cancer subtype.

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