HomeConditionsSquamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that develops from sun-exposed areas. Causes include sun exposure and a weakened immune system. Symptoms include persistent sores or growths. Diagnosis involves skin examination and biopsy. Treatments include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Prevention includes sun protection and regular skin examinations.

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Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), also known as squamous cell cancer, is a type of skin cancer that develops from squamous cells, which are found in the outer layer of the skin. This type of cancer commonly occurs on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, neck, lips, and backs of the hands. However, SCC can also develop on other parts of the body, including the genitals.


The primary cause of squamous cell carcinoma is long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Chronic exposure to UV radiation can damage the DNA in the skin cells, leading to the development of cancerous cells. Other factors that can increase the risk of SCC include a history of sunburns, fair skin, a weakened immune system, exposure to certain chemicals, and a previous history of skin cancer.


The symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma may vary depending on the location and stage of the cancer. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • A persistent, scaly red patch or sore that does not heal

  • A raised growth or lump with a rough surface

  • A wart-like growth

  • Persistent itching or pain

If left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can grow deeper into the skin and spread to other parts of the body, potentially causing serious complications.


To diagnose squamous cell carcinoma, a doctor will typically perform a thorough examination of the skin and any suspicious areas. If SCC is suspected, a biopsy may be conducted to remove a small sample of the affected skin for laboratory testing. This helps determine if cancer cells are present, as well as the stage and aggressiveness of the disease.


The treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma depend on various factors, including the size, location, and stage of the cancer. Common treatment approaches include:

  • Surgical excision: The cancerous tissue is surgically removed along with a margin of healthy skin to ensure complete removal.

  • Mohs surgery: This precise surgical technique is often used for larger tumors or areas where preservation of healthy tissue is necessary.

  • Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy cancer cells.

  • Radiation therapy: High-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation are targeted at the cancerous cells to kill them.

  • Chemotherapy: Medications are used to kill cancer cells, either topically or systemically, depending on the stage and extent of the cancer.


Preventing squamous cell carcinoma involves adopting good sun protection habits, such as:

  • Avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours

  • Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses

  • Applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF regularly and liberally

  • Avoiding tanning beds and sunlamps

Regular skin examinations and prompt evaluation of any suspicious skin changes can also aid in the early detection and treatment of squamous cell carcinoma.


Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that primarily develops due to long-term exposure to UV radiation. Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and prevention methods is crucial for comprehensive management of this disease. Seek medical attention if you notice any changes in your skin or have concerns regarding squamous cell carcinoma.