We hope this leaflet will help you understand a little more about this condition. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask the nursing or medical staff. They will be happy to help you.

What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)?

You have been diagnosed as having Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or SCC. This is a form of skin cancer.

What kind of treatment can I expect?

The type of treatment depends on the place on the body that is affected, the size of the affected area, and how you feel about the options that the doctor will discuss with you.

Common treatments include:

  • Surgery under local anaesthetic
  • Radiotherapy

What are the risks and complications?

If a specific treatment has been offered, then please read the information relevant to that treatment. The doctor will discuss any risks or complications associated with this treatment with you. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Is the condition likely to return?

Occasionally, the condition can return after treatment. We may ask you to attend a follow-up clinic to check for signs of the condition returning.

The condition can also appear as a swelling in glands near the scar. If you are asked to attend the follow-up clinic, the doctor will look at your skin and feel glands near the scar. If there is any concern that the SCC has spread to the glands then further advice from a cancer specialist is usually taken. SCCs which occur on the ears, lips, genitals and in patients who are immuno-suppressed have a higher chance of returning. SCCs which have not been adequately treated are also likely to return.

SCCs which have been described by the pathologist as ‘aggressive’ are also more likely to recur.

What should I do next?

Keep an eye on the scar and the glands near the scar which were examined by the doctor. Scabbing, or other changes in the scar, or swelling of the glands could mean that the condition has returned and needs further treatment.

Try to avoid further sun damage. Changes due to sun include wrinkles, brown marks or scaly areas of skin called Actinic Keratoses. These are most common on the face and back of the hands. If these become thicker, sore or bleed you will need to ask for advice from your doctor. You can ask the hospital doctor at your next routine follow-up visit if it is due soon or make an appointment with your GP for their opinion.

Vitamin D advice

The evidence relating to the health effects of serum Vitamin D levels, sunlight exposure and Vitamin D intake remains inconclusive. Avoiding all sunlight exposure if you suffer from light sensitivity, or to reduce the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, may be associated with Vitamin D deficiency.

Individuals avoiding all sun exposure should consider having their serum Vitamin D measured. If levels are reduced or deficient they may wish to consider taking supplementary Vitamin D3, 10-25 micrograms per day, and increasing their intake of foods high in Vitamin D such as oily fish, eggs, meat, fortified margarines and cereals. Vitamin D3 supplements are widely available from health food shops.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask a member of the nursing or medical staff, or call the Dermatology/Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse:

Dermatology/Skin Cancer Specialist Nurses
Tel: 01935 384 906

Plastics Secretary
Tel: 01935 384 887

Dermatology Secretary
Tel: 01935 384871

If you have served in the armed forces you may be entitled to access the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. Please call 0800 169 22 77.

Ref: 15-17-113
Review: 11/19