There are more than 100 different types of skin cancer. The three most common are:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Today we are going to highlight the second most common form of skin cancer, Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), in Part 2 of our three-part Skin Cancer Series.
The Skin Cancer Foundation states..
“Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers (the epidermis). SCCs often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts; they may crust or bleed. SCC is mainly caused by cumulative UV exposure over the course of a lifetime. It can become disfiguring and sometimes deadly if allowed to grow. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.”
SCCs may occur on all areas of the body including the mucous membranes and genitals, but are most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, bald scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs. Often the skin in these areas reveals telltale signs of sun damage, such as wrinkling, changes in pigmentation, and loss of elasticity
FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE
While SCC’s and other skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early, it is best to prevent them in the first place. Keep your skin healthy, and make the following sun-safety habits part of your daily health care routine:
Healthy and fit skin is hydrated, thicker and more elastic, better able to combat the environment, has fewer lines and wrinkles, and more even tone. Previse helps keep your skin fit by gently purifying the dermis as compared to cleansers that contain harsh surfactants, parabens, and petroleum by-products that can irritate and sometimes damage your skin. Previse Nutrify and Defend help nourish your skin, and over time improve your skin’s thickness and elasticity. Taken together your skin’s in better fighting condition.
However, even the healthiest skin is susceptible to UVA and UVB damage. So please incorporate these sun-safety practices.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher*
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. See our Easy Skin Cancer Screening post for more details.
* Launching March 2013, Previse SunSheer™. Our physical block, sheer sunscreen offers both UVA (broad spectrum) and UVB (25 SPF) protection. When used as part of a skin care regimen, SunSheer can help prevent skin cancer. Like all Previse products, SunSheer’s potent ZeroSilicone™ recipe is free of PEG’s, paraben, sulfates, petroleum, and artificial fragrances.
RED FLAGS FOR SCC
- A persistant, scaly red patch with irregular borders that sometimes crusts or bleeds
- An elevated growth with a central depression that occasionally bleeds. A growth of this type may rapidly increase in size.
- An open sore, that bleeds and crusts and persists for weeks
- A wart like growth that crusts and occasionally bleeds.
FIRST LINE TREATMENT FOR SCC
- Establish and maintain a vivid relationship with a qualified dermatologist. For our clients in the New York tri-state area we recommend making an appointment at Marmur Medical. Dr. Marmur is a leading expert on the subject of skin cancer, Mohs surgery, and holistic health. Dr. Marmur is a frequent guest on the Dr. Oz show, author, and our Previse Medical Advisor. For those elsewhere in the US, we’ve provided a link below to help you find a dermatologist in your area.
- Excision (removal). The best removal practice is Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Mohs Micrographic Surgery is highly accurate and precise. The surgeon is able to spare surrounding tissue, which results in much less scarring. This is especially important if the lesion is on the face or neck.
- Electrodessication & Curettage of the tumor, which basically involves scraping and burning the lesion off the skin. This procedure has limitations as the doctor is unable to determine if all the cancer has been removed, and scarring may mask any malignancy underneath it. This method is most commonly used to remove BCC’s that are not on the face or neck.
- Chemo and Immunotherapy creams or photodynamic therapy to treat precancerous lesions.
TAKE NOTE: It’s important to make sure that the dermatologist doing Mohs Micrographic Surgery is actually a fellowship trained Mohs Surgeon. It is wise to double check the official Mohs Surgery Web site.
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