How Are Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinomas Treated?


Quick Answer

Advanced squamous cell carcinomas are often treated by removing lymph nodes near the primary tumor and through systemic chemotherapy, according to American Cancer Society. Advanced squamous cell carcinomas generally begin in the skin but spread to nearby areas of the body such as the lymph nodes.

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Full Answer

Most squamous cell carcinomas are found and treated before reaching an advanced stage, American Cancer Society says. Because the cancer starts on the skin, a common treatment is surgery by simple excision, cutting out the tumor and a small portion of the surrounding skin. For larger tumors and especially those spreading along nearby nerves, Moh's surgery is the most effective treatment. If there is any chance that cancer cells remain after surgery for a very large or advanced squamous cell carcinoma, radiation therapy is used to kill the remaining cancer cells.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a relatively common type of skin cancer, according to American Academy of Dermatology. It tends to develop after a large amount of sun exposure over a course of years. This means it is most common on the back of the hands, head and neck, but it is possible for squamous cell carcinoma to appear anywhere on the skin. Tanning beds are especially risky in this regard.

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