Doctors find about 95% of squamous cell cancer cases in the early stage. At this time, it is possible to cure them. The Remaining 5% of the SCC advance to the extent that makes squamous cell carcinoma treatment risky and difficult. Luckily many advanced treatment options are there nowadays, making it easy to treat and manage the condition.
What Treatment Options Are For Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma treatment depends on the chances of cancer coming back. It also depends on the site and the size of the tumor, how well cancer cells appear under the microscope, and whether the subject has a weak immune system.
Doctors treat most squamous cell skin cancers when they detect them early. They remove or destroy it with the help of local treatments and use these squamous cell carcinoma treatment types to cure cancer. The larger squamous cell cancers are harder to treat, and cancers that grow quickly have a higher risk of coming back.
In rare cases, the squamous cell cancers move to the distant parts of the body’s lymph nodes. Doctors prefer treatments like immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy if it happens.
How Doctors Detect Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Processes and tests to find squamous cell carcinoma are:
Physical exam: The doctor asks questions about health history and examines the skin for signs of squamous cell carcinoma.
Removing tissue sample to test: Your doctor cuts some suspicious skin lesion or the whole affected area to look for squamous cell carcinoma. This process is known as a biopsy. The type of skin biopsy you undergo is based on what you need. The doctor then sends the tissue sample to the lab for examination and further process of squamous cell carcinoma treatment.
Main Treatment Options
You can remove most squamous cell skin carcinomas with minor surgery or with occasional medicine application to the skin. The skin treatments are well based on the tumor’s location, size, hostility, and the patient’s needs.
Treatment For Small Skin Cancers
For skin cancer with low spread risk, you can consider less invasive squamous cell carcinoma treatment types like:
Laser therapy: The intense beam of light vaporizes growth typically with little damage to the surrounding tissue and less risk of swelling, scarring, and bleeding. Laser treatment would be perfect for outer skin lesions.
Photodynamic therapy combines photosensitizing drugs with light to treat superficial skin cancers. Doctors apply the liquid drug to the skin in photodynamic therapy, making the cancer cells sensitive to light. Later a light that destroys the skin cancer cells shines on the region.
Electrodesiccation and curettage (C and E): The treatment C and E involve removing the skin cancer surface with a scraping tool (curet) and searing the cancer base with an electric needle. The treatment is ideal for superficial or small squamous skin cell cancers.
Freezing: Doctors freeze cancer cells with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) in this squamous cell carcinoma treatment method. It can be an option to treat superficial skin lesions. They can start freezing after using a scraping tool (curet) to remove the skin cancer surface.
Larger Skin Cancer Treatments
More straightforward treatments are for large squamous cell carcinomas and those that move deep into the skin. Some options are:
Mohs surgery: The doctor removes cancer layer after layer, noting all layers under the microscope until there are no abnormal cells. It lets the surgeon ensure that they remove the whole growth and avoid killing large amounts of the healthy surrounding skin.
Radiation therapy squamous cell carcinoma treatment needs high-energy beams to kill cancer cells, like X-rays and protons. Sometimes doctors use radiation therapy after surgery to avoid a higher risk of recurring cancer. It is also an option for people who avoid surgery.
Simple excision: The doctor cuts out cancer-causing tissue and the nearby healthy skin for this process. The doctor would recommend removing additional normal skin around the tumor in some cases. Consult a skilled skin reconstruction doctor to lessen scarring, mainly on the face.
Treatments For Skin Cancer Spreading Beyond The Skin
After squamous cell carcinoma moves to other body parts, you can have squamous cell carcinoma treatments like:
Targeted drug therapy: Targeted drug treatments focus on certain weaknesses in cancer cells. After blocking such weaknesses, the targeted drug treatments cause the death of cancer cells. Doctors often mix targeted drug therapy with chemotherapy.
Immunotherapy: The immunotherapy squamous cell carcinoma treatment helps the immune system fight cancer. The body’s disease-fighting immune system doesn’t attack cancer as the cancer cells make proteins that blind immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by changing such processes. Doctors consider immunotherapy for squamous cell skin carcinoma in the advanced cancer stage when other treatment options aren’t worthy.
Chemotherapy: The powerful squamous cell carcinoma treatment method uses drugs to kill cancer cells. When squamous cell carcinoma spreads to other body parts, doctors use chemotherapy either alone or combine it with other treatments like radiation therapy and targeted drug therapy. The main method of chemotherapy is to target damaged skin without touching normal surrounding tissue. Some common topical chemotherapy treatments are:
Fluorouracil (5-FU): Apply the lotion or cream at the site for three to six weeks. Sometimes the skin can turn red and irritated after you apply the 5-FU.
Imiquimod: You can apply topical lotion at the site. The local immune system attacks abnormal tissues with this solution, and medical experts often use this squamous cell carcinoma treatment to treat actinic keratosis.
As topical chemotherapy doesn’t kill cells under the skin surface, you should have a close follow-up.
Electronic Skin Surface Brachytherapy (ESSB): Some skin cancers don’t need deep radiation. It is possible to treat them with new radiation therapies after directly applying them to the skin, known as electronic skin surface brachytherapy (ESSB).
For ESSB, doctors apply round and smooth skin disks to the radiation therapy machine. They are in place for a few minutes while delivering the tumor. The squamous cell carcinoma treatment method saves the healthy skin from radiation effects.
Lymph Node Dissection: Doctors prefer to remove regional (nearby) lymph nodes for some large squamous cell cancers that grow deep in the skin when the lymph nodes are hard or enlarged. After seeing if they have cancer cells, people take out lymph nodes under a microscope. Sometimes, experts refer to radiation therapy as squamous cell carcinoma treatment post-surgery.
Side Effects Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment
A common squamous cell carcinoma treatment side effect is cosmetic skin changes, like scarring after the doctor removes cancer from the body. Talk to the healthcare expert about drug side effects if you take immunotherapy drugs to treat cancer.
Each person is different, so the time your body would need to heal after treatment would vary according to the person. The cancer cell shape, size, and site also affect squamous cell carcinoma treatment and prognosis and the healing time after treatment. On average, most people recover in two or four weeks after squamous cell carcinoma treatment. The healthcare expert meets in a few weeks after treatment to ensure that the body heals properly and make sure the treatment removes cancer.
At University Cancer Centers, we believe in offering the right treatment according to the patient’s potential and requirements. If you feel any symptoms, visiting us would be a wise decision. Go to our home page about our services and cancer treatment techniques.