Squamous cell skin cancer

Alternative Names

Cancer – skin – squamous cell; Skin cancer – squamous cell; Nonmelanoma skin cancer – squamous cell; NMSC – squamous cell

Definition of Squamous cell skin cancer

Squamous cell skin cancer is a type of that affects the skin.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Squamous cell cancer occurs when cells in the skin start to change. The changes may begin in normal skin or in skin that has been injured or inflamed. Most skin cancers occur on skin that is regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation. Skin cancer is most often seen in people over age 50.


The main symptom of squamous cell skin cancer is a growing bump that may have a rough, scaly surface and flat reddish patches.

Signs and tests

Your doctor will check your skin and look at the size, shape, color, and texture of any suspicious areas.


See also: for treatment information

Expectations (prognosis)

Most (95%) of squamous cell tumors can be cured if they are removed promptly. New tumors may develop, however. If you have had squamous cell cancer, have your skin regularly examined by your health care provider.


Jonathan Kantor, MD, North Florida Dermatology Associates, Jacksonville, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/12/2009

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ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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