Rare Medical News

Disease Profile

Squamous cell carcinoma

Prevalence
Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

Unknown

Age of onset

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ICD-10

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Inheritance

Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease

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Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype

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X-linked
dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.

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X-linked
recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder

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Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.

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Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.

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Not applicable

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Other names (AKA)

Carcinoma, squamous cell; Epidermoid carcinoma; Squamous cell skin cancer

Categories

Rare Cancers

Summary

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer. SCC most often affects individuals who are exposed to large amounts of sunlight. It is typically characterized by a red papule or plaque with a scaly or crusted surface; it may be suspected whenever a small, firm reddish-colored skin lesion, growth or bump appears on the skin, but it may also be a flat growth with a curly and crusted surface. Most often these growths are located on the face, ears, neck, hands and/or arms, but they may occur on the lips, mouth, tongue, genitalia or other area. The most common causes of SCC are radiation from the sun and arsenic exposure. With appropriate treatment, it is usually curable.[1]

Treatment

Skin cancer generally has a high cure rate if it is treated early. Treatment depends on how big the tumor is, its location, and how far it has spread (metastasis).[2] Methods of treatment for squamous cell carcinoma may include:

  • Curettage and desiccation scraping away the cancer and using electricity to kill any remaining cancer cells; this is used to treat cancers that are not very large or deep[1][2]
  • Surgical excision cutting out of the tumor and stitching up the remaining tissue[1]
  • Radiation therapy (if the skin cancer is located in an area difficult to treat surgically)[1]
  • Microscopically controlled excision (Mohs surgery) - repeated cutting out of small pieces of tissue that are then examined microscopically to check if any cancer has been left behind; repeated application of this technique minimizes the removal of healthy tissue and is cosmetically more satisfying, especially if carried out with a plastic surgeon as part of the medical team.[1][2] This is more likely to be used for skin cancers on the nose, ears, and other areas of the face.[2]
  • Cryosurgery freezing and killing the cancer cells[2]
  • Skin creams and medications may be used to treat superficial (not very deep) squamous cell carcinoma.[2]

The outlook for small squamous cell lesions that are removed early and completely is extremely favorable, with about 95% cured if they are removed promptly.[1][2]

FDA-Approved Treatments

The medication(s) listed below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as orphan products for treatment of this condition. Learn more orphan products.

Organizations

Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Organizations Providing General Support

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

        In-Depth Information

        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Squamous cell carcinoma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

          References

          1. Carcinoma, Squamous Cell. NORD. April 20, 2008; https://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/764/viewAbstract. Accessed 6/22/2011.
          2. Squamous cell skin cancer. MedlinePlus. August 12, 2009; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000829.htm. Accessed 6/23/2011.

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