Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer.  It is causedby sun exposure and is most common in Caucasians and is rare in individuals with dark  skin.  Individuals with impaired immune systems, such as patients who have received an organ transplant or who take one of several medications that suppress the immune system are at higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

 These lesions most commonly occur on sun-exposed sites.  They may develop from pre-existing actinc keratoses. Keratoacanthoma is a variant of squamous cell carcinoma that tends to grow quickly.  Keratoacanthomas almost never spread but may become quite large if not treated.  

Squamous  cell carcinomas can very rarely metastasize.    They can also grow and become locally destructive.   For these reasons they should be promptly removed once diagnosed.

Treatment options for squamous cell carcinomas include:

  1. Electrodessication and curettage ("scraping" these lesions)
  2. Surgical excision
  3. Mohs surgery
  4. Radiation 


Cure rates are generally quite high for most treatment modalities.