Squamous cell skin cancer

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Squamous cell skin cancer (also called squamous cell carcinoma of the skin) is a common type of skin cancer. When found and treated early, most of these cancers can be cured. If not treated, this skin cancer may grow and spread (metastasize).

This cancer is often caused by being exposed to UV rays from the sun. Using tanning beds or sunlamps can also cause it.

It can occur anywhere on the skin. This includes the head, neck, trunk, arms, hands, and legs. It also includes inside the mouth, on the genitals, and on the skin near the fingernails, toenails, and anus.

It's more common in people with lighter skin. In these people, it most often appears on parts of the body exposed to the sun. In people with darker skin, it appears more often on skin that isn't exposed to the sun and in areas where there are scars or ongoing skin problems.

This skin cancer may also appear on skin that has been burned, exposed to chemicals, or had radiation therapy.

Treatment is usually surgery to remove the cancer. If it can't be removed, other treatments may be used, such as radiation therapy or medicines.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.