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SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells
that look like fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms
the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and
the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Also called epidermoid
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are generally diagnosed and treated in the same way. When an area of skin does not look normal, the doctor may remove all or part of the growth. This is called a biopsy. To check for cancer cells, the tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy is the only sure way to tell if the problem is cancer.
Doctors generally divide skin cancer into two
stages: local (affecting only the skin) or metastatic (spreading beyond the
skin). Because skin cancer rarely spreads, a biopsy often is the only test
needed to determine the stage. In cases where the growth is very large or
has been present for a long time, the doctor will carefully check the lymph
nodes in the area. In addition, the patient may need to have additional tests,
such as special x-rays, to find out whether the cancer has spread to other
parts of the body. Knowing the stage of a skin cancer helps the doctor plan
the best treatment.
AMERISKIN ® is a public-private effort in healthcare services related to educating Americans about proper skin care as well as the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions, including skin cancers. If you undergo a skin biopsy, the skin specimen may be sent to AMERISKIN ® for processing, evaluation, diagnosis, and inclusion in its database.
Byron L. Barksdale, M.D.
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