Understanding Squamous Cell Skin Cancer (SCC)

There are three common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, also called squamous cell skin cancer, is the second most common form of skin cancer; it is more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma and less dangerous than melanoma.


Squamous cell skin cancer is very common; it is more common than breast, lung, and prostate cancer combined. While a large number of patients will do well with surgery alone, a subset of patients remain at risk of their cancer spreading (also called “metastasis”).

Cancer is often referred to based on its location, for example, “skin cancer”. Cancer can also be described by the type of tissue cells that created the cancer, for example, “squamous cell carcinoma”. This second way of describing cancer is determined by a doctor, looking at the tissue under a microscope.

There are multiple types of squamous cell carcinoma because people have squamous cells in the skin and other body parts. Cancers arising from these cells are called squamous cell carcinomas; skin cancers from these types of cells are called “squamous cell skin cancer” or “cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma”. Squamous cell carcinomas that are not skin cancer may be treated differently, depending on the part of the body where they occur.

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Prognostic Risk Factors in Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

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