FAQ - carcinoma, squamous cell
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Does acnitic keratosis always turn into squamous cell carcinoma or can it also turn into basal cell carcinoma?

Prior to 3 areas developing on my chin that will not go away, for several years I had an area on my chin that was wart-like, it was small and skin colored and from the research I have done it is called acnitic keratosis(pre-cancer). It would come and go. But now I have the sores on my chin that won't go away for 2 months now. I do have an appointment at the end of this month with the dermatologist and I am on the cancellation list. Unfortunately I am one that loves the sun, I just returned from an Island and prior to going I did use the tanning bed like I do every year. I also have a Hx of CA in my family , my mother had breast CA and alot of my aunts and uncles on my mothers side has had some type of CA. I know with my Hx of CA and sun exposure you are probably saying how stupid could you be?? You just never think it will happen to you until it does. Maybe I'm overdiagnosing but I have to wait a month to find out.

An actinic keratosis is sometimes a precurser to squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinomas are also caused by excess UVA damage but in a different type skin cell. The ratio of AKs that convert into SCC varies but is around 2-15%. My own estimate is about one in six if the AK is given enough time to keep growing. Here is a new article from PUBMED discussing this same question.

Eur J Dermatol. 2006 Sep;16(4):335-9. Links
Actinic keratosis: how to differentiate the good from the bad ones?Quaedvlieg PJ, Tirsi E, Thissen MR, Krekels GA.
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Maastricht, P.Debyelaan 25, Postbox 5800 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. [email protected]

Our objective was to obtain practical clinical parameters to indicate those actinic keratoses (AK) that are at risk of becoming invasive. A systematic review of the literature, with focus on randomized trials, retrospective studies and reviews was undertaken. The main outcome measure was the rates and clinical features of AK that transformed into SCC. This study reviewed randomized and retrospective studies and reviews of AK and their risk of becoming SCC. We reviewed a total of 875 studies and identified 62 useful prospective, retrospective studies and reviews. Finally 15 studies covering percentage and/or clinical parameters of malignant transformation were found to be useful: a total of 9 reviews, 4 randomized controlled trials and 2 retrospective studies. Only 1 study (meta-analysis) examined the percentage of malignant transformation and found a rate between 0.025% and 20% per year/per lesion. Clinical parameters found were: induration (3 studies), bleeding (3 studies), enlargement in diameter (3 studies), erythema (2 studies) and ulceration (2 studies). Other minor clinical criteria were pain, palpability, hyperkeratoses, pruritic lesions and pigmentation. The amount of quality research on the most common premalignant lesion in humans is disappointing. The only longitudinal study looking at the incidence of malignant transformation of AK to SCC dates from 1988.Besides the known risk factors (skin type, photodamage, immunosuppression etc), based on this review we found clinical features that provide a practical guide to practitioners in the treatment of AK. Although not prospectively studied, clinical parameters indicating those AK with an increased risk of malignancy are IDRBEU. I (Induration /Inflammation), D (Diameter > 1 cm), R (Rapid Enlargement), B (Bleeding), E (Erythema) and U (Ulceration). In future prospective studies, these parameters should be included.
PMID: 16935787 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Your family history of breast cancer does not influence your own chances of developing skin cancer but your history of tanning and sun exposure certainly does. You can reverse the development of many AKs with the prescription medicine Solaraze (topical diclofenac) if you apply it twice daily for three months or so. AKs that do not respond to Solaraze either need cryosurgery (freezing) or surgical removal. Solaraze will not effectively treat a SCC so if the Dr suspects you have a SCC it is better to treat the suspected SCC first with biopsy and excision and then treat any remaining non threatening AKs with Solaraze. Solaraze will not help if you continue tanning or sun exposure.


If you do end up being diagnosed with SCC then you need to realize that your tanning and heavy sun exposure days are over because once you have one SCC of the skin the chances of you developing a second SCC are increased and will not decrease. Chances are about 40-70% that a person with one biopsy proven SCC will develop another one within five years.


There is some preliminary research that indicates drinking green tea daily might reduce a person's chances of developing skin cancers due to excess sun exposure and possibly help in the DNA repair of UVA damage of the skin. So far the research is not completely convincing but if you like drinking tea it certainly won't hurt any to add tea to your daily diet.

Skin cancer chemoprevention: strategies to save our skin.Einspahr JG, Bowden GT, Alberts DS.
Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 245024, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.

There are over 1 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed yearly in the United States. The majority of these are nonmelanoma (NMSCs) and are associated with chronic exposure to ultraviolet light (UV). Actinic keratosis (AK) has been identified as a precursor for SCC, but not for BCC. AKs are far more common than SCC, making them excellent targets for chemoprevention. Cancer chemoprevention can prevent or delay the occurrence of cancer in high-risk populations using dietary or chemical interventions. We have developed strategies that have rational mechanisms of action and demonstrate activity in preclinical models of skin cancer. Promising agents proceed to phase I-III trials in subjects at high risk of skin cancer. UV light induces molecular signaling pathways and results in specific genetic alterations (i.e., mutation of p53) that are likely critical to skin cancer development. UVB-induced changes serve as a basis for the development of novel agents. Targets include inhibition of polyamine or prostaglandin synthesis, specific retinoid receptors, and components of the Ras and MAP kinase signaling pathways. Agents under study include: epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a green tea catechin with antioxidant and sunscreen activity, as well as UVB signal transduction blocking activity; perillyl alcohol, a monoterpene derived from citrus peel that inhibits Ras farnesylation; difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), an inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase and polyamines; retinoids that target retinoid X receptors and AP-1 activity; and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents that inhibit cylooxygenase and prostaglandin synthesis. We performed a series of Phase I-II trials in subjects with multiple AK. For example, a phase II randomized trial of topical DFMO reduced AK number, suppressed polyamines, and reduced p53 protein. Our goal is to develop agents for use in combination and/or incorporation into sunscreens to improve chemoprevention efficacy and reduce skin cancer incidence.
PMID: 12903851 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]  (+ info)

Some facts about Squamous cell carcinoma, and also about absal cell?

I suggest that you try to use your spell check function if you want to receive quality answers.

Basal cell carcinoma - http://www.skincancer.org/content/view/21/80/

Squamous cell carcinoma - http://www.skincancer.org/content/view/23/81/

Melanoma - http://www.skincancer.org/content/view/17/79/

good luck  (+ info)

my brother was just diagnosed with invasive moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinoma?

it is in his neck/jaw/ear and eye area they said if he doesn't get radiation treatment within 30 days he will die

I am so very sorry to hear about your brother. I hope he is successfully treated for this cancer. Emotionally this is a scary time for the whole family. Maybe you can go to one of his doctor appointments with the rest of the family. Or at least give them a couple of questions you would like answered. Sometimes the best support for a cancer patient is to hug them and just sit quietly for few minutes. They don't always want to talk, but the company feels good. And don't forget that your parents can use just a little extra help and lots of hugs too. Some hospitals/treatment centers have support groups for the families of cancer patients. You might want to check into that......  (+ info)

Can facial squamous cell carcinoma have a subsequent link to brain cancer - if surgery was successfull ?

I think what you are asking is; If you had a skin cancer successfully removed from your face can it later metastasize to your brain? The answer is yes. A lot depends on the stage at diagnosis.

Brain cancer and skin cancer are two separate diseases and are not linked to one another.  (+ info)

does anyone know the per centages of squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma?

Out of the million or so cases that are reported each year, about 80-90 percent are basal cell, and about 10-20 percent are squamous cell. No one really knows how many cases there are, because these cancers are reported and tracked.

The number of squamous cell cancers, in particular, may be vastly under-reported, because they are higher in the skin, may be more easily removed, and less likely to require ongoing treatment.  (+ info)

Isinvasive squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer more likely to spread than non invasive? Just had one removed.?

from my hand. I am worried that it will spread. I nicked my hand and the sore would not go away. Had it removed and was cancer. Anyone know much abourt this type of skin cancer?

I would not say that an invasive squamous cell carcinoma is "highly susceptible to spreading" but I will agree that the chances of this type squamous cell spreading internally are statistically higher than a SCC on the upper layers of the skin, they are more problematic to treat and they are significantly more likely to recur. Your Dr should be able to tell you whether they removed enough tissue to where he got down to where there were only normal cells present. Tell him you do not want to take any extra risks and that you would want an additional excison if he thought it might be truly helpful. He will probably give you a quick answer as to whether or not this is a good idea or not.


Another good idea would be to treat the area where the cancer was removed with Aldara cream. Aldara is currently only FDA approved to treat basal cell skin cancers but this will soon change to include squamous cells. Aldara is an immune modifier that brings interferons and interleukins to the site where an immune response is then activated against malignant cells. You apply the Aldara every other day to the area where the cancer was removed which then gets inflamed if there are any malignant cells present. After 6-8 weeks of treatment the inflammation dies down and the crust sloughs off and the area is cancer free. If no inflammation occurs after the first couple of weeks then you know the surgery has already removed the malignant cells and you do not need to keep treating the area.

The generic name for Aldara is imiquimod. Here is a study discussing the use in invasive SCC.

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 Aug;55(2):324-7. Links
Imiquimod 5% cream in the treatment of Bowen's disease and invasive squamous cell carcinoma.Peris K, Micantonio T, Fargnoli MC, Lozzi GP, Chimenti S.
Department of Dermatology, University of L'Aquila, Italy. [email protected]

BACKGROUND: Imiquimod has been successfully used for treatment of various epithelial cutaneous neoplasms. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of imiquimod 5% cream for treatment of Bowen's disease and invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in patients who were unsuitable candidates for surgery. METHOD: Five Bowen's disease lesions and 7 invasive SCC lesions on 10 patients were treated with imiquimod once daily 5 times a week for a maximum of 16 weeks. RESULTS: After 8 to 12 weeks of treatment, 4 of 5 Bowen's disease lesions (80%) and 5 of 7 invasive SCCs (71.4%) showed complete clinicopathologic regression. The remaining 3 lesions showed partial regression after 16 weeks of treatment. No recurrence has been detected after a follow-up period of 24 to 38 months (mean, 31 months). LIMITATIONS: The study is an open-label clinical trial on a small number of selected patients, with lack of excision with serial step sections. CONCLUSION: Topical application of imiquimod 5% cream might represent an alternative topical treatment to surgery in selected cases of Bowen's disease and invasive SCC.
PMID: 16844522


Aldara is a relatively new treatment for skin cancers and some Drs do not use it yet because of either lack of prior experience or afraid of lost income.
good luck  (+ info)

how can you tell is a feline is in pain from squamous cell carcinoma?

depends on whether the SCC is located on the skin surface or a mucus membrane or located internally. If located on the skin then the cancer will look like a sore or an ulcer and obviously be painful looking. If the cancer is internal then you will know by how the cat is acting. You really need a biopsy of the cancer to be sure of why your cat is ill. You need the advice of a veterinarian rather than guessing at this while your cat suffers. Early stage SCC are easily treatable in some situations. good luck  (+ info)

define what Squamous cell carcinoma lung cancer is?

what are its symptoms?
how is it prevented?

This is a tumour arising from the lung that has started in squamous cells. In short, we have several different types of cell in our body, one of these types are squamous cells, and this is where the tumour in the lung has come from. The carcinoma is a fancy word for cancer. Hope that helps.  (+ info)

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

Is this a lung cancer or a skin cancer? A friend of mine says he has third stage, but he has often lied to me to get attention. I looked it up and found skin cancer. He says he has lung cancer but when I looked it up it said skin cancer.HELP!

Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer of the epithelial cells in and where the malignant cells are located makes a big difference as to the seriousness of the disease.

Squamous cell of the lungs is a type of non small cell lung cancer and is usually a terminal disease. Smokers often develop squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs, tongue, throat, etc.



Squamous cell of the skin is usually caused by excess UVA exposure of the epidermis. SCC of the skin is different from SCC of the lungs in that there is significantly less chance of metastasis and a much higher chance of a cure with a simple excision.



If your friend has SCC of the skin then there will be an obvious spot with stitches where the skin cancer was removed. If he has SCC of the lungs then his only initial symptoms might be a cough, weight loss and lack of energy. This will of course change as time goes on. You will soon know whether your friend is telling you the truth or not.  (+ info)

What is the mortality rate for Basal Cell Carcinoma? What is the mortality rate for Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Although a basal cell and squamous are a basic skin cancer they are not as invasive and fast growing as a melanoma.

These sorts of skin cancers usually stay on the surface of the skin.

Melanoma grows downwards into the underlying surfaces and wreaks havoc.  (+ info)

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