squamous cell carcinoma


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Important information about the second most common skin tumour after the basal cell carcinoma, the squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common malignant skin tumour. The average age is 70 years, men are more affected than women. squamous cell carcinoma mostly arises in chronic sun-exposed areas and here above all in the face. The tumours can spread into the adjacent lymph nodes or even into other organs and develop secondary tumours in the absence of or insufficient treatment. This happens only rarely.

squamous cell carcinoma


Squamous cell carcinomas develop primarily on the slightly damaged skin with already existing actinic keratoses. Rarely, they are caused by chronic wounds, burn scars, or other skin diseases.

The squamous epithelial carcinoma of the skin is the prime example of a sun-induced tumour. Obviously, the cumulative sun exposure (“UV life-time account”) plays a decisive role. 


The appearance of a squamous epithelial carcinoma of the skin is often similar to that of actinic keratosis in the initial stage. 

1. Squamous cell carcinoma of the lip

2. Squamous cell carcinoma of the hand


The symptoms are initially inconspicuous and different depending on the localization. Small hyperkeratoses occur, for example, on the skin. Squamous cell carcinomas are mostly painless and feel hard. They grow to infiltrate and destructive, papillary-like exophytic or ulcerating.

The rate of metastases of squamous cell carcinomas depends on the initial tissue. It is relatively small in squamous cell carcinomas of the skin and is less than 3 to 5% of small tumours. Squamous cell carcinomas of the mucous membranous and transition mucous membranes, on the other hand, show a more aggressive biological behaviour and metastasize more frequently. The most important factors for metastasis are size, depth of invasion, and degree of differentiation. The sowing of the metastases usually takes place first in the regional lymph nodes, later in other organs.



  • Operation: surgical excision of the tumour tissue (with histology); Examination and possible removal of the local lymph nodes
  • Radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy
  • ImmunotherapyStandard therapy is the complete surgical removal of a tumour. In carcinomas with a very high risk of the formation of secondary tumours { metastases }, a preventive operation of the adjacent lymph nodes may be necessary.If an operation is not possible for medical reasons, for example, or if very extensive early forms of carcinoma are present, there are a variety of therapy alternatives. These include primarily superficial destructive measures such as curettage, electrodesiccation, cryotherapy (icing), photodynamic therapy, local chemotherapy  (5-fluorouracil cream), local immunotherapy (imiquimod cream) and direct attack on cancer cells (with Ingenolmebutat Cream)) and radiation therapy.

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