Squamous cell cancer (SCC) affects one of three kinds of cells composing the epidermis. Squamous cells lie near the skin's surface and constantly shed as new cells form. Abnormal changes to their DNA, due to excessive exposure to sunlight, genetics, or other harmful agents, may cause cancer. Most SCCs can be treated when caught in the early stages. When SCC lesions remain untreated, they can become disfiguring or invasive. A dermatologist or general physician should investigate suspicious skin discolorations or growths; if the growth is malignant, early detection can prevent the cancer from spreading.
Early signs of squamous cell carcinoma include dome-shaped, slightly protruding bumps or scaly, reddish patches of skin. SCC patches bleed easily when scraped or picked. Larger SCCs often itch and hurt when scratched. In some cases, bumps emerge through scars or sores. Changes to these markings should be reported to a dermatologist. Although SCC bumps or rough patches more commonly develop on sun-exposed areas like the face or scalp, they can arise anywhere on the body.
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