Prognostic Risk Factors in Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

If you are diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer, your healthcare provider will assess the risk of your cancer spreading. Cancer spreading is also known as metastasis. It’s easy to identify patients who will do well with surgery alone, but some patients remain at risk. A number of factors are taken into consideration for this risk assessment, including:

Large Tumor Size

Visible tumor size on the skin larger than 2 centimeters (about 3/4 inch) in diameter.


Specific Tumor Locations

For example, tumors on the ear, lip, cheek, temple, and other areas.


Patient Immunosuppression

Squamous cell skin cancer patients who also have an immune system that is suppressed. This could be from medication related to a solid organ transplant or an inflammatory disease.


Deep Tumors

Cancer cells moving down from the skin surface, deep into underlying tissue.


Poorly Differentiated Grade

A specific tissue characteristic a doctor identifies using a microscope.


Perineural Involvement

SCC cells that have invaded spaces around nerves.


= Surgical and Pathology Findings

= History and Physical Examination

There are two different types of risk factors commonly used in medicine. “Predisposition” indicates how likely you are to get a disease. “Prognosis” tells you how severe the disease may be after you are diagnosed. Prognosis helps determine how aggressively you may treat your cancer for the best possible outcome.

Having an accurate understanding of the risk of your cancer metastasizing (prognosis), is a critical part of your healthcare team’s ability to determine the right approach to the treatment and ongoing management of your squamous cell skin cancer.

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