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Squamous Cell Carcinoma


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that starts in the outer layer of the skin. It is a slow growing type of skin cancer that usually does not spread.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


You healthcare provider may perform a biopsy (a small sample of skin is removed). The sample will be sent to a lab and checked for abnormal cells and cancer.


You may need more than one of the following:

  • Cryosurgery: This is a procedure that uses a chemical, called liquid nitrogen, to freeze and kill a small area of tissue. The tissue dies and later falls off.
  • Mohs surgery: This surgery removes only skin with cancer cells and as little healthy tissue as possible. Thin layers of the tumor are scraped off one at a time until all the cancer cells are removed.
  • Excision: Your healthcare provider may cut an area around the tumor to remove it.
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage: The skin tumor is scraped and then heated with an electric probe to kill the cancer cells.
  • Laser therapy: A narrow beam of light is used to kill the cancer cells.
  • Topical chemotherapy: This is given as a lotion or cream to put directly on the skin cancer to kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation: This treatment uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading. It may be used for hard-to-treat areas, such as the eyelids, the tip of the nose, or the ear.
  • Skin graft: A healthcare provider will remove a thin piece of healthy skin and put it where skin has been removed. A skin graft can help close the wound or decrease the amount of scarring.


You may get an infection or bleed more than expected after surgery. If the cancer is not treated, it may spread to other parts of your body. Once cancer spreads, it becomes more difficult to treat, and other serious medical problems can develop.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Inpatient Care)

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