Squamous cell carcinoma growths often develop from lesions caused by years of sun damage to that part of the body. Regular sun exposure is by far the most important factor in promoting this kind of skin cancer. Additionally, as it is normal for it to take years to develop into cancer, it is common for people who regularly exposed themselves to the sun when they were in there 20’s to develop squamous cell carcinoma decades later. Other factors, which less commonly contribute to squamous cell carcinoma is exposure to x-rays, arsenic and hydrocarbons. Some of the high-risk strains of HPV can also cause the development of squamous cell carcinoma in the anogenital region.
It is possible for squamous cell carcinoma to spread if not treated early on. In order to make a proper diagnosis a biopsy will be performed by removing a small section of the skin for examination under a microscope. There are many kinds of treatment of squamous cell carcinoma, and the one used will depend on the location, size and severity of the cancer. One option is curettage and desiccation, whereby the squamous cell carcinoma is scooped out using a spoon like instrument and then remaining cells in the base have an electric current applied to them. This also controls bleeding so the wound does not require stitching up. There is also surgical excision, where the tumour is cut out and stitched up; radiation therapy, usually used in areas that are difficult to treat with surgery; and cryosurgery, where the squamous cell carcinoma is frozen with liquid nitrogen. There are also medical therapy using creams, which can be used from home to attack cancer cells and stimulate the immune system. These creams mean that surgery can be avoided, however the cure rate is not so high most of the other methods.
Squamous cell carcinoma can be prevented through limiting sun exposure to the skin. When you do have to spend time in the sun, where a wide-brimmed hats and cover up with UVA protection sun-cream, SPF 30 or higher. Re-apply the cream every couple of hours and after swimming or sweating. Avoid sun beds at all times and have regular check up’s to look for changing lesions or moles.
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