Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer in Australia.  An SCC typically arises from sun-damaged skin and is more common as we age.  This type of cancer is responsible for several hundred deaths each year, almost all of which are avoidable with prevention, early detection and speedy treatment.

Often, there will be obvious, dry, sun-damaged areas of skin called ‘actinic or ‘solar’ keratoses. These areas are not cancerous but commonly form the background in which the cancer arises. Actinic keratoses are regarded as ‘pre-cancerous’ and are treated very easily by freezing, burning or applying creams. Your Skin Cancer doctor will guide you through treatment. Squamous Cell Carcinomas will often be thicker than simple sun damage or actinic keratoses. They may be tender, bleed slightly or grow a crust – sometimes even a horn. An SCC will stand out and is often noticed by patients as simply ‘being different’ or ‘feeling different’. This type of cancer is common on the head and neck and carries the most risk in these locations.

NB: There can be several variations of a Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Please consult your Skin Cancer doctor if you have any concerns.