As summer approaches and spending more time in the sun is a given, skin cancer is a topic worth thinking about. The second most common form of skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells, which make up most of the skin’s epidermis.
What does SCC look like? A good rule of thumb is to check your body, head to toe, once a year for changes in a pre-existing growth or the development of a new growth. SCCs commonly look like:
- An open sore that does not heal
- An elevated growth with a central depression
- A thick, scaly red patch that crusts and may bleed if scraped
- A wart
Where do SCCs occur? Every area of your body is a potential locale for a SCC. This includes your mucous membranes and your genitals. But SCCs are most common in areas that receive frequent exposure to the sun’s UV rays, such as the lower lip, rim of the ear, face, neck, hands, scalp, arms and legs. Sometimes the skin in these exposed areas reveals signs of sun damage long before the appearance of a SCC. These signs include “age spots,” broken blood vessels, fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.
What causes SCC? Sun damage which is caused by the sun’s UV light is cumulative over your lifetime. Accordingly, the main cause of SCC is this exposure to the sun’s rays, especially during the summer months.
Who is most at risk? If you have fair skin and light hair and eyes, you are at the highest risk of getting SCC. Those whose occupation or hobby requires them to spend a lot of time in the sun are also at increased risk.
While SCCs and other skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early, it is best to prevent them by seeking shade during the hottest time of the day, avoiding tanning beds, wearing sunglasses and a hat, and using a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
To learn more, call for a consultation appointment, today: (508) 334-5990.
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