Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancer. Merely thinking about this word alone could instantly strike fear into the eyes of anyone. It will definitely send chills down the spine of even the self-proclaimed bravest person who ever lived. Cancer knows no boundaries. It can affect any person at any given time and at any given age. At times, it can even strike when you would least expect it. It is very sneaky. The only time that you will realize its presence is when the disease is at its deadliest form. There’s definitely nothing worse than that.
Cancer got its name from the Zodiac sign of the crab. A crab’s mentality is pulling down its companions every time they try to escape captivity. As with the disease, a cancerous tumor is not contented with infecting just one part of the body. It will instead find a way to infect nearby organs, which will cause those organs to infect the ones near to them, until eventually the entire system is affected. This is exactly why cancer can be extremely deadly when not caught immediately.
A few decades ago, being diagnosed with cancer is pretty much synonymous to a nail in your coffin. Technology back then was so poor and doctors even found it very difficult to give remedy to a simple case of pneumonia. But with the help of new ways to diagnose the disease and a whole lot of research, the prognosis has dramatically improved over the last several years.
But probably the worst thing about cancer is its unpredictability. Eating healthily and exercising regularly will not automatically mean immunity from cancer. Yes. Even the people you will least expect to develop cancer will suffer from it. Indeed, it knows no boundaries. But even though that is true, preventive measures still have to be put into action. Overconfidence can definitely kill you sometimes.
Since a brief overview of cancer has already been given, it’s now time to discuss a specific cancer - the Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
What Is It?
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most prevalent type of cancer in the skin. It is characterized by cancerous (malignant) cells at the skin’s upper layers. Squamous cell changes can either be due to normal physiology or due to injury and underlying disease. Usually, the cancer cells are confined withing the skin though they may have a tendency to spread to other body parts. The cervix, the prostate, the vagina, the urinary bladder, the lungs, the esophagus, the mouth, and the lips are just some of the common areas SCC can spread to. SCC can at times develop naturally.
Causes Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Excessive exposure to sunlight is usually the one blamed for causing Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Injury, inflammation, burns, scars, and harmful chemical or radiation exposure could trigger SCC, too. Overexposed areas of the skin such as the arms, the shoulders, the hands, the neck, and the lips are the likely locations of the SCC tumor.
Below are the factors that can play a role in causing Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
- Age - the older the person (especially during the age of 50 or higher), the higher the risk of acquiring SCC.
- Race - skin color, in particular, is a big factor. Light-skinned individuals have a bigger tendency to suffer from SCC than their dark-skinned counterparts. This means that those who are of Asian, African, and Hispanic descent possess less risk of suffering from SCC than Caucasians.
- Ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure - gradually deteriorates the skin’s health.
- Previous history of cancer - once a person suffers from any kind of cancer, the disease can return at any given time in any possible form.
- Weakened immune system function - has been repeatedly known to trigger any disease, including cancer.
Squamous Cells Carcinoma normally comes in the form of tumors that are rough, scaly, shallow, and thick. An open would or lesion that does not seem to heal could be an indication of possible SCC. That is why abnormal appearance of moles and warts should be noted immediately. A sudden change in any aspect of your physical appearance (like sudden loss of weight) should immediately be known by your doctor. Another warning sign for the SCC is the chronic hoarseness of the voice accompanied with a slow healing throat ulcer.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Similar to several other cancers, early detection is the key to get a good chance of survival. The major problem is the symptoms manifested during Squamous Cell Carcinoma’s early stages are identical to other known diseases. In other words, SCC can easily be misdiagnosed as something else. Diagnosing the disease will only get harder once it has metastasized to the internal organs.
As long as the Squamous Cell Carcinoma is caught early enough, treating and dealing with it is a piece of cake. The same could not be said if the symptoms of the disease are repeatedly neglected.
Treatment methods for Squamous Cell Carcinoma will largely depend upon the physician’s judgment as to what approach is the most appropriate to use. The basis for it would the extent of the cancer and the size of the tumor. Worst case, the SCC can reach the cartilage and the bone if treatment is repeatedly postponed or altogether neglected. The more complications present, the more complex the treatment methods will also be.
In the event someone is declared free of cancer, he/she will still be placed under special care. Usually, wound healing and scar hiding are the aftercare treatments being put into action. These interventions are best carried out by dermatologists since they are the ones who know most about the human skin and the importance of keeping it healthy. The team of specialists is also aware of the fact that there is a 40% greater risk of suffering from another form of cancer in the future even if the patient is currently in remission.
Also put in mind that the days where excessive sun exposure to the sun is considered healthy has been long gone. The hole in the ozone layer is practically bigger than an entire continent so the Ultraviolet rays are more harmful than ever. To put that statement medically, sunlight has already become more cancerous than ever before. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Erbitux, Blenoxane, Cisplatin, Cytarabine, Epirubicin, Filgrastim, Fulvestrant, Idarubicin, Ondansetron