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Home skin basics Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

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What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer in the UK. SCC is treatable, if detected early. But if left untreated for too long, it may spread to other parts of the body and this can be serious.

What causes It?
The most common cause is UV exposure from the sun or sunbeds and therefore, the most common places are on exposed areas on the body. For example, your face, head, ears and neck and the backs of your hands. SCC is more common in fair skinned people than people with darker skin. People who work outdoors or people who enjoy playing outdoor sports have a higher risk of a SCC. Also, people who may have been treated with ultraviolet light for skin conditions, eg Psoriasis, have an increased risk, as do people who have a suppressed immune system.

What to look for

SCC usually appears as a scaly or crusty area of skin with a red area. SCC is not painful. If you are worried about anything on your skin, get it checked out.

What's the treatment?
The most common treatment for SCC is surgery. The SCC is cut out and some clear skin around it is also taken. Other treatments include;

Curettage & Cautery - the SCC is scraped away and the skin surface is sealed
Cryotherapy - freezing the SCC with liquid nitrogen

What you can do
If you have any marks on your body that are not healing or are changing in any way then get them checked out.
Follow the SunSmart Code

Remember that winter sun contains just as much damaging UV as summer sun.
Don't use sunbeds.


skin cancer

the second most common in young people


the deadliest form of skin cancer

Catch it early - it can be stopped