Squamous cell skin cancer is just one type of skin cancer, but just as with the other forms of the disease, this type is also the usually caused by excessive exposure to the sun or UV rays.
Looking on the bright side, it's good to know that this specific type of skin cancer is known to spread quite slowly, but unfortunately, it also has the ability to spread to surrounding area.
For example, if this type of skin cancer is present on your face then it could eventually spread to your eyes if left unchecked. In fact, if the disease is not caught in time and treated, it can also spread to other parts of your body such as your arms and legs.
The only way to be absolutely certain that you don't have squamous cell skin cancer is to arrange for a biopsy.
This procedure will involve having a small sample of skin analyzed by a pathologist in a laboratory, but of course, it is something you would only need to request if you had reason to suspect the presence of skin cancer.
Furthermore, you need to remember that a biopsy is simply a means of determining whether or not you do in fact have cancer. Under no circumstances will a biopsy serve to remove the cancer if it's present.
In some instances, patients are misled into thinking that their cancer is gone after they have a biopsy, in that the skin appears to have healed.
However, this apparent healing is simply due to the fact that new skin sometimes grows over the cancer after the biopsy has been done.
Unfortunately, if the cancer is then left untreated it will usually begin penetrating deeper into the layers of skin, and in severe cases it can also metastasize. Once the cancer has managed to progress this far it can often prove to be fatal.
In the United States alone, there are an estimated 25,000 new cases of squamous cell skin cancer each year, thus making it one of the most common types of skin cancer.
Unlike malignant melanoma, this form of skin cancer originates from the cells which make up the majority of the upper layer of skin.
Fortunately, the disease is often not considered to be extremely serious, providing it's caught soon enough while still in the early stages of development.
However, if the disease is not detected in time and treated properly, it can prove to be extremely challenging, and in that case, patients are often left with permanent disfigurement.
As with most types of skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer is usually the result of excessive exposure to the sun or some other form of ultraviolet radiation.
In the vast majority of cases, the disease tends to manifest itself on the face, neck, hands, arms, legs, and back. However, it can also appear on the scalp or on the lower lip or the ridge of the ear.
Apart from being caused by sunlight, the disease can also develop as a result of exposure to certain carcinogenic substances such as petroleum by-products and arsenic.
Providing the cancer is treated in time, patients can expect to make a full recovery.
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