Squamous cells form the upper part of the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin, which is constantly shed and replaced. Basal cells are in the lower part of the epidermis and divide to create the new squamous cells.
As with almost any cells in your body, they can grow in an uncontrolled way and form cancers. For these cells, by far the most common cause is exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light.
Although a growing problem in the UK and elsewhere, the good news is that diagnosis, treatment and cure are well proven. All the more so when the cancers are caught early, whichever type is found.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
A non melanoma condition which makes up about 80% of all skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads beyond the local area. The condition can still be cosmetically undesirable and create unpleasant symptoms.
Whilst BCCs are often painless and relatively benign, they can form a scab which bleeds and is resistant to healing. Left for sufficient time, the scabbing may erode your skin and cause an ulcer, the origin of BCCs being called “rodent ulcers”.
Even when superficial, BCCs form a scaly red mark, or pearl like lesion. They can become more evident, with one, or several shiny nodules grouped and crossed by easily seen blood vessels.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Whilst also a non melanoma skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma does have a somewhat larger potential to spread. Not in the same league as aggressive skin cancers such as melanoma but sufficient to raise concern.
Serious health risks apart, SCC is as personally and cosmetically undesirable as BCC. Scaly, or wart like lesions can bleed or ulcerate in a similar way and if left, have the potential to spread locally.
Bearing in mind the common occurence of SCC on parts of the face, this is a significant issue. What starts as a small wart, could if left long enough become seriously disfiguring.
Treatment For BCCs & SCCs
You may have seen our section on skin cancer diagnosis. Although medical science is never exact science, we can say that our skilled consultants will in almost every case correctly diagnose BCC and SCC.
In a significant proportion of cases, the decision will be to surgically remove the cancerous tissue. Performed well, this is the most adept way to ensure a cure really becomes a cure.
In minor cases, or where surgery is not feasible, curettage (scraping), cauterising, or freezing the infected area can be effective. Creams and a light based treatment called photodynamic therapy are other possibilities.
Radiotherapy, or chemotherapy can be used to treat SCC. Perhaps in combination with surgery and normally in more advanced cases, not least when the cancer has spread elsewhere.
Treatment At Our Clinic
You can be assured of skilled support and the finest surgeons. Including the availability of Mohs surgery, a technique specifically developed for skin cancers, to maximise cure rates and minimise cosmetic damage.
We work with areas of your body which are often highly visible and take great care during all surgery. In cases where significant removal of tissue is needed to ensure the right result, corrective surgery is available.
By all means read more on the surgical techniques we use to bring aesthetic and medical satisfaction. Or get in touch with our friendly staff and talk through your requirements, you will be made welcome.