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Diagnosing Skin Cancer: Spot the Warning Signs of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)?

Of all the different types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common. Not sure how to identify the warning signs? Here are a few key symptoms to look out for.


What Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

This particular type of skin cancer is usually not life-threatening, but it can spread aggressively if not diagnosed and treated as soon as early signs of skin cancer are detected. If allowed to spread, SCC can cause all sorts of complications. Squamous cell carcinoma is named as such because it develops primarily in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin.

Most commonly, this type of skin cancer is caused by overexposure to UV radiation. As a result, it is most often found on areas of the body that receive the most UV ray exposure. But how can you catch it early on? Let’s jump into identifying some SCC warning signs.

Persistent Scaly Patches of Skin

This is one of the earliest warning signs of SCC. These patches are made up of dry, scaly skin and have raised edges. While SCC is mostly one color, it’s important to note that there can be variations from case to case. This particular SCC symptom typically shows up as red or pink, but can also look brown, black, yellowish, or white. These patches of dry, scaly skin also stay concentrated in a small area and may bleed or ooze.

Uncomfortable Skin Sensations

While skin cancer may not immediately be painful, SCC can cause a number of unpleasant sensations as it grows. Small patches of skin may feel itchy or tender if affected. Other people have also reported a tingling, pins-and-needles sensation in the area affected by SCC.

Wart-Like Growths

Wart-like growths are another key warning sign of SCC. While warts may disappear with the help of a few simple treatments, SCC growths stick around. In addition, these wart-like growths may develop a crust and bleed as the skin cancer progresses.

Dark Streak Under Nails

This may not be a symptom you immediately associate with a skin cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, it can often be an early warning sign that gets dismissed for that very reason. When SCC develops around the nail, it can seem like a wart that won’t go away. In addition to the black or brown streak under the nail, this can mean skin cancer is progressing.

Disappearing Nail

This is another sign of SCC on the hands. A disappearing nail may look like the tip of your nail is slowly receding or like your fingertip is consuming it. Either way, this could be an important early warning sign that’s critical to pay attention to.

Squamous cell carcinoma can be tricky to spot at first. That’s why it’s so important to check your skin for abnormalities regularly and to see a dermatologist if you have any concerns.

If you have questions about abnormalities on your skin and want an accurate diagnosis, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.

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