4 Tips on Spotting Squamous Cell Carcinoma - From a Dermatologist
Did you know that upwards of 400,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the skin (Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or CSCC) in 2020, with over 8,000 fatalities? Fortunately, when spotted early, this type of skin cancer can be effectively treated by a minor outpatient surgery, before it spreads. Let’s look at 4 important tips on spotting squamous cell carcinoma, from my perspective as a practicing Dermatologist.
First, the highest risk individuals for skin cancer are those who freckle or burn easily, those with blond or red hair, those with prior severe sunburns, and those who love the sun. But with our culture’s increasing love of UV or Ultraviolet light, really everyone is at risk for skin cancer. It’s possible that those who tan rather than burn in the sun are even at higher risk, because they like to be outdoors.
Second, know what to watch for: enlarging, changing skin lesions, especially those with color changes or those that bleed or scab. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer, behind basal cell skin cancer in incidence (number of cases per year), and ahead of melanoma, which causes the most fatalities. SCC presents as a raised, rough dry skin lesion that never heals, and it’s most often seen in sun-exposed parts of the body: on the lips, ears, face, neck, and trunk. Be aware that Dermatologists like myself definitely also treat patients with SCC in the groin and on the extremities, so it can occur on all areas of the body.
Thirdly, Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be prevented by use of broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher, applied every 90 minutes when outside between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, between March and November. Sunscreens are now available as creams, lotions, and sprays. And don’t forget to screen your kids!
A personal favorite – now available from Big River Silk™ Skincare, of which I am the President - is Vanicream® Sunscreen Sport SPF 35 (4 oz: $17.95). Be aware that Big River Silk Skincare also manufactures and distributes Anti-wrinkle Creams – the GlycoShea™ Facial&Neck Cream and GlycoShea™ Hand&Body Cream (www.Bigriversilkskincare.com, 1-901-753-0168).
Fourthly, many skin cancers are first detected by a person’s own family member. Why don’t you get the whole family completely undressed, and do a comprehensive mole check yourself? You can find excellent photos of what to look for by going to the Skin Cancer Foundation web site, skincancer.org:
My own Dermatology practice since 1993 is with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates (www.Rheumderm.com; 1-901-753-01680), but you can find a Dermatologist in your own neighborhood by going to the American Academy of Dermatology web site, AAD.org, then plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab. The good news is that early detection definitely saves lives.
George Woodbury Jr. M.D.
Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates (www.Rheumderm.com)
Big River Silk Skincare Inc. (www.Bigriversilkskincare.com)
8143 Walnut Grove Road
Cordova TN 38018 (07/15/2020)