SCCs can appear as thick, rough, scaly patches that may crust or bleed. They can also resemble warts, or open sores that don't completely heal. Sometimes SCCs show up as growths that are raised at the edges with a lower area in the center that may bleed or itch.
What does SCC look like? 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.
Early stage skin cancer may resemble a small spot or discolored blemish significantly smaller than the size of a fingernail. It may be reddish or brown, though sometimes white with flaking skin cells surrounded by a small blotch of darker skin.
Signs and symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include:
- A firm, red nodule.
- A flat sore with a scaly crust.
- A new sore or raised area on an old scar or ulcer.
- A rough, scaly patch on your lip that may evolve to an open sore.
- A red sore or rough patch inside your mouth.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Complications
If it's not treated, squamous cell carcinoma can spread and damage healthy tissue and organs. In rare cases, it can be life-threatening. That can be more likely if: The cancer is large or very deep.
Results: Rapidly growing SCC occurred most commonly on the head and neck, followed by hands and extremities, and had an average duration of 7 weeks before diagnosis. The average size of the lesions was 1.29 cm and nearly 20% occurred in immunosuppressed patients.
Visible signs of precancerous skin
Crustiness or bleeding. Diameter of less than one inch. Discoloration, often appearing brown, pink, gray, red, yellow, or white. Flat or slightly raised.
The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred. The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue. The spot is larger than ¼ inch across – about the size of a pencil eraser – although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
These cancers can appear as: Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, similar to a scar. Raised reddish patches that might be itchy. Small, pink or red, translucent, shiny, pearly bumps, which might have blue, brown, or black areas.
Not many studies have been done on itching as a symptom for skin cancers, but a 2014 study found that itching was a prevalent symptom in 36.9% of all non-melanoma skin cancers. The prevalence of itch was highest for patients with squamous cell carcinoma, at 46.6%.
Stage 2 – Cancer has grown deep into the skin and displays one or more high-risk features (such as metastasis to nerves or lower skin layers), but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or healthy tissues. Stage 3 – Cancer has grown into lymph nodes, but has not spread to any organs other than the skin.
Though not as common as basal cell (about one million new cases a year), squamous cell is more serious because it is likely to spread (metastasize).
Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) is used for some early squamous cell cancers, especially in people who can't have surgery, but is not recommended for larger invasive tumors or those on certain parts of the nose, ears, eyelids, scalp, or legs.
Bumps that are cancerous are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. The mass will grow in size steadily over the weeks and months. Cancerous lumps that can be felt from the outside of your body can appear in the breast, testicle, or neck, but also in the arms and legs.
Stage IA Melanoma: The melanoma tumor is less than 1.0 millimeter thick (less than the size of a sharpened pencil point) with or without ulceration (broken skin) when viewed under the microscope. Stage IB Melanoma: The melanoma tumor is more than 1.0 millimeter and less than 2.0 millimeters thick without ulceration.
They sometimes go away on their own, but they may come back. A small percentage of AKs may turn into squamous cell skin cancers. Most AKs do not become cancer, but it can be hard sometimes to tell them apart from true skin cancers, so doctors often recommend treating them.
One important clue in visual inspection and differentiation between SCC and AK is the size of the lesion. Generally AK lesions tend to be smaller than SCC lesions. Invasive SCC typically is a tender, enlarging hyperkeratotic lesion that may become nodular and ulcerate.
An actinic keratosis is a scaly or crusty bump that forms on the skin surface. They are also called solar keratosis, sun spots, or precancerous spots. Dermatologists call them "AK's" for short. They range in size from as small as a pinhead to over an inch across.
While skin cancers are often asymptomatic, meaning they don't show symptoms, they can be itchy. For instance, basal cell skin cancer can appear as a raised reddish patch that itches, and melanoma can take the form of itchy dark spots or moles.
The median patient delay was 2 months. The highest quartile patients reported > 9 months between noticing the lesion and the first visit, defined as long patient delay. The median treatment delay was 2 months. The highest quartile patients reported > 4 months treatment delay, defined as long treatment delay.
Conclusions At our institution, patients with stage I, II, or III squamous cell carcinoma had a mean survival of approximately 3 years. Those with stage IV or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma could be stratified by either serum albumin concentration or by age into 2 groups with a median survival of 1 or 2 years.
Compared with skin BCCs, skin SCCs not only are more likely to metastasize but also to cause mortality. Although the case-fatality rate is only approximately 1%, the national NMSC mortality figures equal or exceed those for melanoma, which is far more lethal but less common.