Squamous Cell Carcinoma primarily occurs due to exposure of sun or ultraviolet rays, but there are other factors as well, which could trigger this disease. Unlike basal cell carcinoma it takes years to develop into a cancerous disease after sun damage. Thus early protection is more important for preventing this disease.

Prevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

It could develop from sun damaged skin after many years. The key to prevent this disease is avoiding exposure to sun.  Some of the precautions to prevent development of squamous cell carcinoma are as follows-

  • Over exposure to sun could increase risk of developing this disease. Thus it is better to limit sun exposure from young age, as damage done to skin even then can lead to this disease after many years.
  • Exposure to arsenic or hydrocarbons increases risk of this disease, thus avoiding exposure to these harmful substances as much possible also helps in preventing this disease.
  • People with light colored skin should avoid sun exposure, as fair skin increases risk of this disease, when exposed to sun, heat or ultraviolet rays.
  • Exposure to radiations from different imaging techniques such as X-ray must also be avoided as much as possible as they also increase risk of developing this disease.
  • Avoiding too much heat is also important as long term exposure to excessive heat also triggers this disease.
  • People with weak immune system must go for proper treatment as it could trigger infections and many diseases including squamous cell carcinoma.
  • HPV infections could lead to squamous cell carcinoma in the anogenital region. Thus people suffering from it should get checked for squamous cell carcinoma.
  • People should avoid going out in the sun without any protection.
  • They should use protective clothes and hats while working in the sun.
  • Using sunscreen with UVA protection and SPF higher than 30 also protects from skin damage.
  • People, who have any of risk factors or skin damages, should go for regular check-ups.
  • Tanning booths use ultraviolet rays for tanning, thus avoiding them is better.

Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Doctors use one or combination of many treatment methods to treat this disease. They decide the appropriate treatment method after considering size and spread of tumor, patient’s physical health, age and medical history and risk of scarring after treatment. Some of the treatment methods are listed below.

Surgery:

Surgery is used to remove tumors causing Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Different surgical methods are used depending on the location and spread of the disease. Doctors prefer Curettage and desiccation method of surgery for removing tumor. They scoop out tumor with spoon shaped curette and use electric current to kill cancerous cell and stop bleeding with a process called desiccation. This is normally used in treating small cancerous tumours. For large tumors Micrographic surgery is used. In this method a small part of tumor is cut and examined in a series. Through this doctors may curb out the tumor without estimating its depth and width prior to surgery. It is a highly successful method. In case of large operations help of a plastic surgeon is also taken to restore the physical appearance to as natural as possible. Other method of surgery called cryosurgery is also used to freeze and kill cancerous cells by applying liquid nitrogen.

Radiation Therapy:

In this method radiation is applied on affected area to kill cancerous cells. They take time and patients may need up to 30 sessions depending on the spread of this disease. Radiation therapy increases risk of developing other types of cancers, thus they are used only, when they are absolutely needed.

Medical Therapy:

In medical therapies creams are used to attack and kill cancerous cells. Though they are needed to be applied several times a week for several weeks, they also boost body’s own immune system to fight with the disease. They can produce side effects such as sharp inflammation, irritation and discomfort in area of application. It is most suitable method to treat squamous cell carcinoma on face and in the early stages.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma