In stage 0 squamous cell carcinoma, the cancer is in the top layer of the skin only. This is the earliest stage of squamous cell carcinoma. It's easiest to treat the cancer at this stage because it hasn't spread into the deeper layers of the dermis.
In stage 1 squamous cell carcinoma, the cancerous growth is smaller than two centimeters. It hasn't moved into the lymph nodes or internal organs at this point.
In stage 2 squamous cell carcinoma, the cancerous growth is larger than two centimeters but has not moved into the lymph nodes or internal organs.
In stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma, the cancer has moved into other areas, like the bones or the face or a lymph node. However, the cancer hasn't spread into the internal organs in stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma.
In stage 4, the most serious stage of squamous cell carcinoma, the cancerous growth can be any size. It has spread into at least one lymph node nearby and has often moved into the bones and internal organs.
The main reason that squamous cell carcinoma develops is sun exposure or other exposure to ultraviolet radiation like indoor tanning beds. Therefore, squamous cell carcinoma can often be prevented by avoiding excess sun exposure and by using proper sun protection.
Treatment options may include:
In excision, the doctor removes the growth from the skin with a scalpel and sutures the edges of the skin back together.
In cryosurgery, the doctor freezes the cancerous growth, which destroys it.
This treatment uses healing light to resolve early stage squamous cell carcinoma.
In this treatment, the cancerous growth is scraped away using a spoon-like tool called a curette. The doctor then burns the wound area using electric current, which reduces bleeding and increased the chances of success.
For early stage squamous cell carcinoma, topical medication in the form of a prescription skin cream may be a successful treatment.
At the practice of Michael J. Freeman, MD, PA, the treatment for squamous cell carcinoma is individualized for the patient.