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Squamous Cell Carcinoma


The two most common kinds of skin cancers are Basal cell cancer, which starts in the lowest layer of the skin, and Squamous cell cancer, which begins in the top layer of the skin. A third skin cancer is melanoma which starts from the color-making cells of the skin (called melanocytes).

I battle Squamous Cell Carcinoma ...

One of three main types of cells in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis), squamous cells are flat cells located near the skin's surface that shed continuously as new ones form.

SCC occurs when DNA damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation or other damaging agents triggers abnormal changes in the squamous cells.

SCCs can appear as scaly red patches, open sores, rough, thickened, or wart-like skin, or raised growths with a central depression. At times, SCCs may crust over, itch or bleed. The lesions most commonly arise in sun-exposed areas of the body. SCC is a fairly slow-growing skin cancer. Unlike other types of skin cancer, it can spread to the tissues, bones, and nearby lymph nodes, where it may become hard to treat.

While SCC is less common than basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the number of reported SCC cases in the U.S. has steadily increased. An estimated 1.8 million cases of SCC are diagnosed each year, which translates to about 205 cases diagnosed every hour. SCC incidence has increased up to 200 percent in the past three decades.

SCC, Though not as common as the basal cell (about one million new cases a year), squamous cell is more serious because it is likely to spread (metastasize). Treated early, the cure rate is over 90%, but metastases occur in 1%–5% of cases. After it has metastasized, it isn't easy to treat.

Just like you have a yearly check-up, a colonoscopy, prostate, a mammogram, etc., let me encourage you fully and without hesitation to start seeing a dermatologist yearly.

I may feel like this, but I am thankful for the scars that allow me to live! It is why this piece speaks to my soul of thanksgiving.