Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the types of skin cancer. It develops in the squamous cells of the outer and middle layer of the skin. Although, as compared to melanoma, this type of cancer isn’t life-threatening. However, it can sometimes be aggressive. Squamous cell carcinoma can sometimes move from its origin and spread to other parts of the body, which might lead to severe complications. The exact cause of squamous cell carcinoma isn’t known yet, however, some factors that contribute to the development of this disease have been identified. Examples of these factors include exposure to excess amount of ultraviolet radiations. This can be reduced by avoiding exposing your skin to huge amount of sun rays, especially when it’s very hot. Sunscreen can also be used. They help to filter out the dangerous radiations from reaching the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma can develop anywhere there are squamous cells in the body. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease include the development of firm red nodules on the skin. Others include a raised patch on the genitals, rough patch in the mouth and so on. Most variants of squamous cell carcinoma can be treated through different procedures. Surgery can be performed. Other procedures include laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, radiation therapy and so on. It has been discovered that they’re some stem cells promote the rapid proliferation of a tumour in squamous cell carcinoma. Targeting these stem cells is a potential and effective way of treating squamous cell carcinoma.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
This disease usually starts as a bump on the skin. This bump could be red in colour, and patchy when touched. They also bleed when scraped or touched. Some of the symptoms of the disease are;
• A red ulcer or plaque that grows slowly.
• The lesion caused by this cancer is sometimes asymptomatic
• Regular bleeding from the tumor, especially when scraped.
• The appearance of this cancer varies clinically in people.
• The ulcer usually has rough edges, with hard lesions.
• The tumour might appear in the form of a hard plaque, but with vessels.
• The tumour sometimes can be found just below the skin, which would eventually ulcerate and invade the surrounding tissues.
• This tumour mostly develops in the areas that are exposed to the sun, such s the neck, hands, arms, head, and so on.
• It often forms an ulcer on the lip that doesn’t heal and then bleeds regularly.
• The cancer tumour grows slowly.
What Are The Causes Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs when there is an error in the development of the DNA of the squamous cells. This mostly occurs in the outer layer of the skin. Ideally, new cells push the older cells toward the surface of the skin surface. However, this order is disrupted in squamous cell carcinoma, and not followed. The error in the DNA is responsible for this kind of development. The genetic error also causes the cells to grow out of control and spread to other parts of the body. Other causes of squamous cell carcinoma include the following;
• Ultraviolet radiations: Excess exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiations lead to the development of squamous cell carcinoma. Other sources of ultraviolet radiations include tanning beds and lamps.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
There are many factors that could contribute to the development of squamous cell carcinoma. Below are some of the factors,
• Skin: This disease can affect anyone, notwithstanding the kind of skin they have. However, people with fewer pigments on their skin usually have less protection against the effect of the ultraviolet radiations. In simple terms, the more the melanin or pigment one has, the lesser the chances of having the disease. This is why squamous cell carcinoma is more prevalent in people with fair skin. However, this disease also occurs in Hispanic and black people
• Sun exposure: Prolonged exposure of the skin to sun radiations increases the risk of having squamous cell carcinoma. Prolonged exposure of the skin to the sun, especially when the skin is not covered increases the chance of having this disease. A way of reducing this risk is by wearing clothes that cover the body, and also wearing sunscreen when it’s hot.
• Genetics: There are some people with skin genetic disorders such as Xeroderma pigmentosum. This disease causes an oversensitivity to sunlight. People with this kind of genetic skin disorder have a very chance of developing squamous cell carcinoma.
• Immunosuppression: People with a weakened immune system do have higher chances of having this disease. This is common to patients with organ transplants or people on steroids. They are usually given medications that would suppress their immune system, to prevent cases of organ rejection. Heart transplant patients are the most affected by this disease, because of the heavy immunosuppressive drugs they have to use.
• Past medical history: A previous occurrence of the squamous cell carcinoma increases the chances of having the disease again. In addition, people that have a relative that has suffered from the disease have a high risk of developing the disease.
What Are The Complications Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma that isn’t well treated can lead to different complications. Apart from the tendency of the growth to spread to other organs of the body, such as lymph nodes, lungs and so on. The chances of complications occurring are connected to some factors, which includes;
• The state of the immune system of the individual
• When the growth is large and deep.
• When it involves mucous membranes, such as the lips.
When Should Go See A Physician?
You should go see a physician when you notice an ulcer or skin rash that persists for more than 2 months.
Stem cell therapy and squamous cell carcinoma
It has been discovered that they’re some stem cells that promote the rapid proliferation of a tumour in squamous cell carcinoma. Targeting these stem cells might be a more effective and faster way of treating squamous cell carcinoma.
Chandrakesan, P. (2017). Cancer cell of origin controls epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in skin squamous cell carcinoma. Stem Cell Investigation, 4, pp.34-34.
Curry, J. and Wojcik, E. (2003). Malignant pericardial effusion with metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma: Discordance between ThinPrep® and cell-block cytopreparation. Diagnostic Cytopathology, 29(5), pp.270-270.
Geurts, T. (2005). Pulmonary Squamous Cell Carcinoma following Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Metastasis or Second Primary?. Clinical Cancer Research, 11(18), pp.6608-6614.