3 Treatments for Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the major types of skin cancer in the United States. These common skin tumors grow from epithelial cells (also called squamous cells) and while it is a serious cancer, there are many treatment options available for patients with SCC.
Cryotherapy (or cryosurgery) is sometimes used for early stages of squamous cell carcinoma. It is not, however, recommended for large, invasive tumors or for those on specific areas of the legs scalp, ears, nose, and eyelids. “It can be used in superficial, very early-stage disease,” explains Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon in Austin, Texas.
There are many surgeries used to treat SCC, including excision (surgically removing the tumor and a small amount of non-cancerous skin from the surrounding area), curettage and electrodesiccation (which is most useful for small, thin cancers), and Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is considered to be the gold standard when it comes to treatment in the surgical sphere, with the absolute highest cure rates.
Radiation therapy is often not recommended as a first line treatment due to the possibility of long-term side effects, but it can be very effective for patients with large cancers, or who have them in areas which make surgery difficult, such as the eyelids, nose, and ears. Radiation is sometimes used in tandem with other procedures and may be administered after surgery if the margins around the tumor still test positive for cancer cells. It is also an option for patients whose cancers have become too deep or too large to be removed surgically.
Dr. Mamelak treats patients with Squamous Cell Carcinoma at Sanova Dermatology and the Austin Mohs Surgery Center. For more information on the treatment options available for patients with squamous cell carcinoma, please contact us.