Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dermatologist2019-05-21T13:12:46+00:00

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer. It is the second most common type of skin cancer we see in the UK

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA – AND HOW TO TREAT IT

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have squamous cell carcinoma. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve your condition.

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Skin treatment enables people of all ages to take control of their skin condition and get their life back

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How does squamous cell carcinoma impact people on a day-by-day basis?

SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA IS A SERIOUS TYPE OF SKIN CANCER THAT PRESENTS AS A RAPIDLY GROWING NODULE OR ULCER. IF CAUGHT AND TREATED EARLY, SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA HAS A HIGH CURE RATE.

What Squamous Cell Carcinoma looks and feels like 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be as small as a few millimetres but can grow to several centimetres in diameter. It is normally seen as a skin-coloured or a red nodule with crusting or ulceration that bleeds and can be painful.

They can occur anywhere

Squamous Cell Carcinomas can occur anywhere on the skin but commonly occur in sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the face, non-hair bearing area of the scalp, neck, lips, ears, backs of the hands, and lower legs.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be worrisome. If you are concerned about a lesion, get it checked

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second commonest skin cancer. If you are fair-skinned, have had extensive past sun exposure, and have a non-healing or enlarging skin nodule or ulcer, do get it checked.

Who gets Squamous Cell Carcinoma and why?

The leading cause of Squamous Cell Carcinoma is cumulative sun exposure and it is particularly prevalent in people with fair skin. For example, if you have exposed yourself to the sun through your occupation (like outdoor workers do), or if you have spent much time outdoors through your hobbies. Immunocompromised individuals can also be at higher risk.

Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma curable?

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a highly curable skin cancer. The majority of tumours are thought to be low risk and I can treat them through simple surgical removal. Squamous cell carcinoma does have a very low risk (2-3%) of recurring, either locally or to the lymph nodes and sometimes to other parts of the body. For this reason, I recommend follow-up for a period of time after your treatment.

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

FIND OUT HOW TO GET THE SKIN YOU WANT

CALL 0118 373 5198
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How it works

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
STEP 2 – LET’S MEET
STEP 3 – RESOLUTION
CONTACT MY STAFF

Give us a call on 0118 373 5198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

MEET WITH ME

I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about Squamous Cell Carcinoma

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer. It is the second most common type of skin cancer we see in the UK.

SCC can present as a painful, bleeding, rapidly-growing, skin coloured or red nodule with crusting or ulceration.

SCCs can be as small as a few millimetres but can grow to several centimetres in diameter.

They can occur anywhere on the skin but commonly occur in sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the face, non-hair bearing area of the scalp, neck, lips, ears, backs of the hands, and lower legs.

A small percentage of (around 2 to 3%) of SCCs can spread to the lymph nodes (and to other parts of the body), but the vast majority of SCC is curable.

The main cause of SCC is cumulative and long-term exposure to sun and ultraviolet light.

Sun exposure results in damage to the DNA of the cells in the topmost layer of the skin, which can then develop into an SCC.

SCC can also sometimes arise in chronic wounds such as ulcers or significant skin burns.

Risk factors include:

  • people with fair skin who are prone to sunburn
  • significant long-term ultraviolet light exposure (for example, outdoor work or hobbies)
  • having lived in sunny climates
  • people who are immunocompromised (due to medication), for example, organ transplant recipients.

I will offer you a full skin check to look for any evidence of sun damage, similar lesions elsewhere and to determine the best treatment for your condition.

In a large number of cases, I can treat your SCC on the day. Sometimes, you first will need a small biopsy, before I can determine the best treatment option.

Treatment generally consists of removal of the skin tumour with a small margin of healthy skin around it to ensure that it’s entirely out and that it won’t grow back.

I mostly perform this on the same day as your consultation. It is a minor procedure involving an injection of local anaesthetic to numb the area.

In some cases, you may need a small biopsy so that I can confirm the diagnosis. After confirming the diagnosis, I will discuss it with you.

If the SCC is very large or in a cosmetically sensitive area, then I may refer you to one of my plastic surgery colleagues. They will remove the skin lesion and use a skin flap or graft to repair the wound.

Radiotherapy is also sometimes used to treat SCCs in certain situations, for example, if surgery is not possible or suitable, or to complement the surgical treatment. If radiotherapy is required, I will refer you to an oncologist who performs this treatment.

Though generally, most SCCs are low risk, you will require follow-up on every three months for a period of 1-3 years to ensure that the lesion does not recur or spread. Follow-up also involves a full skin check to ensure that there are no new lesions requiring treatment.

“Is my squamous cell carcinoma curable?”

SCCs are highly curable. The majority of tumours are thought to be low risk. However, in about 2% or 3% of cases, the SCC can recur or spread locally to the lymph nodes and sometimes to other parts of the body. For this reason, I recommend follow-up for a period of 1 to 3 years (depending on the type of SCC that you have had).

“Now that I have had one SCC what can I do to protect my skin?”

Though your original SCC is highly unlikely to grow back or recur, you are at an increased risk of further sun damage or other skin tumours, and it is therefore vital that you take adequate sun protection measures as well as examine your skin on a regular basis for similar lesions. I will also show you how to monitor your skin and lymph glands for signs of SCC recurring.

Affiliations and memberships

I AM PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS

Questions and answers

RELEVANT AND INFORMATIVE VIDEOS AND ARTICLES

How can you prevent itchy skin?

There are several ways that you can assist in preventing itchy skin like soaps and clothing. However, you should see a healthcare professional to find the underlying cause of itchy skin.

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

Learn more about me

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