Skin Cancer / Squamous Cell Carcinoma
What It is

With more than an estimated 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. This type of cancer most commonly occurs on the face, scalp, ear, neck, lip and back of the hands. However, tumors can also form anywhere on the body, including inside the mouth and genitalia.

Risk Factors

Overexposure to the sun or to ultraviolet light through tanning parlors presents the largest risk for SCC. Sunlight accounts for over 90 percent of all skin cancer cases. People who have fair skin, light hair, light eyes and sunburn easily are also at highest risk for developing SCC, however anyone can get this type of cancer. People of increased age or with weakened immune systems, or anyone who has had a skin cancer of any type before, are at increased risk.

What to Look For

SCCs can appear as thick, rough, tumors, a non-healing ulcer, or as a red, crusty or scaly area of skin. Any skin lesions that cause you concern or you may have a question about, especially those that are not healing, are growing, changing shape, appearance, or may be bleeding, should be evaluated by your dermatologist.


We strongly recommend annual total body skin exam by Dr. Ned Gross. The exam takes minutes to complete and is an essential step in early intervention against SCC and other skin cancers.

SCC in most cases is highly treatable. Surgical excision using local anesthesia is the most common form of treatment but other types of treatment include topical medication, radiation therapy, laser surgery, cryosurgery and electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C). We will discuss the various treatment options with you depending on what best suits your health needs.

The contents of are for general educational and informational purposes only and not to be misconstrued as treatment advice or medical diagnosis. This information does not replace the advice of a physician, nor does it imply a physican – patient relationship between the reader, Dr. Gross and Piedmont Dermatology Center.