The websites for the American Cancer Society and MedicineNet both contain pictures that show skin with squamous cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma often appear as rough and scaly patches or open sores that are darker colored than the surrounding skin.
Cancer that starts in the thin, flattened cells of the surface layer of skin is called squamous cell carcinoma, states MedicineNet. These cells also make up the lining of the respiratory system, digestive tract and organs. One of the first manifestations of this cancer is Bowen disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Areas of the skin with the most exposure to the sun become rough and reddened. Because squamous cell carcinoma develops so slowly, it can be caught and treated.
Squamous cell carcinoma is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light, explains Mayo Clinic. It can also be caused in part by toxic exposure and a weak immune system. Tanning beds can increase the risk of developing this type of cancer. People with fair skin or a history of sunburns are also more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma. Although it can be treated when found early enough, it can be much harder to cure cases that occur in the mucous membranes or deep in skin and tissues.