Fast Facts about Squamous Cell Carcinoma


  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is  the second most common form of skin cancer (after basal cell carcinoma)
  • SCC is twice as common in men as in women
  • Chronic exposure to sunlight causes most cases of SCC
  • SCC results from an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells of the skin
  • SCC most often appears on skin that gets lots of sun. It also can appear inside the mouth, on the lip, or on the genitals
  • People who use tanning beds are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop SCC than people who don’t
  • SCC rarely appears before age 50. It occurs most often in individuals in their 70s
  • An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths
  • Certain rough, dry, scaly precancerous skin growths called actinic (solar) keratoses are associated with the later development of SCC. Most are related to cumulative sun exposure
  • Between 2 and 10 percent of untreated actinic keratoses will become SCC
  • See a dermatologist for a skin cancer check if you notice anything on your skin that lasts two weeks or longer and is growing, changing shape, bleeding or itching

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