Stage 3 Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Stage 3 Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Stage 3 Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma is the fourth stage of this common form of skin cancer, which begins in the squamous cells. These cells, or keratinocytes, make up the outer layer of the skin. At this stage the cancer has started to spead past the skin into nearby tissue, bone and lymph nodes. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma, including Mohs surgery, with expert advice from Sharecare.

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    Medications aren't usually used to treat stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. Usually, doctors will first try to remove the cancer through surgery. As a second line of defense, doctors may suggest topical or systemic chemotherapy. In topical chemotherapy, strong drugs may be applied to the skin to kill cancerous cells. This method is usually used for very shallow tumors, so it's not often used in stage 3. Systemic chemotherapy uses medications taken orally or intravenously to destroy the cancer cells. This treatment may be beneficial if the cancer has started to spread to the bones or lymph nodes.

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    It's difficult to determine the exact number of cases of stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. This is due in part to the fact that the cancer may be diagnosed and treated before it reaches stage 3, or it may not be diagnosed till it's reached a later stage. The disease usually progresses pretty slowly, so stage 3 may not be as common as earlier stages. In general, squamous cell carcinoma is a pretty common type of skin cancer. It's estimated that there are about 200,000 to 300,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year.

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    Squamous cell carcinoma at any stage, including stage 3, very rarely affects children. The average age when people are first diagnosed with the condition is 66 years old. In general, younger people are starting to be affected by squamous cell carcinoma much more frequently. However, it's still very rare for children to develop this condition because it's often caused by a lifetime of exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

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    If you notice symptoms of stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma, you should talk to your doctor. Symptoms are often hard to distinguish from other conditions because they may just look like dry, irritated skin or a pesky sore. However, if you notice any of these symptoms that don't heal after a few weeks, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor. This is especially important because by the time it's reached stage 3, the cancer has already started to spread to other parts of the body. The earlier it's diagnosed and treated, the better your chance for a full recovery, so see a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms.

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    Sun exposure is one of the most significant risk factors for stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. Sun exposure, especially over many years, greatly increases the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation your skin gets. It's thought that those UV rays are what may damage DNA and initially cause stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. Because of this risk, it's a good idea to avoid excessive sun exposure and to protect your skin with sunscreen and protective clothing.

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    Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma affects men and women in pretty much the same ways. The only difference between its effects on men and women is that males are more likely than females to develop any stage of squamous cell carcinoma, including stage 3. However, because this is a relatively common type of cancer for both sexes, it's important that everyone take precautions to protect their skin from the sun and to check their skin frequently for any symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma.

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    Unfortunately, there's no guaranteed cure for stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. Treatments for the disease can be effective if they're started as soon as possible. Some of the most effective treatment options may include surgical removal of the tumor (including Mohs surgery) and other therapies like radiation or chemotherapy. Talk to your doctor to determine the most effective treatment options for you.

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    There are several things you can do that may help prevent stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. If you are diagnosed with an earlier stage of squamous cell carcinoma, the most important way to prevent it from advancing to stage 3 is to get treatment right away. It's also important to check your skin regularly for any unusual symptoms, especially if you've had an earlier stage of squamous cell carcinoma or if you've had any type of skin cancer. To prevent squamous cell carcinoma from developing in the first place, one important thing you can do is to limit your sun exposure. Avoid the sun when it's at its strongest (10 a.m to 4 p.m.). If you are outside, wear a strong sunscreen year-round, and wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs. Take care of your overall health by eating a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants, and don't smoke or quit smoking.

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    The most significant risk factor for stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma is leaving earlier stages of squamous cell carcinoma untreated. Another big risk factor is excessive sun exposure, especially exposure to a lot of ultraviolet (UV) rays over an entire lifetime. Having fair skin may increase your risk, because lighter skin doesn't have a lot of pigment to protect from the sun. Medical conditions such as certain genetic disorders, chronic skin inflammation, or a weakened immune system may increase your risk for stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. Age and sex may also come into play because males and older people are much more commonly affected by the disease. Other risk factors may include smoking and a personal or family history of skin cancer.

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    Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma develops in the squamous cells, or keratinocytes, which make up the outer layer of skin. Normally, these cells go through a growth cycle in which old cells die and are pushed out by new cells continuously. In stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma, the DNA that controls that growth cycle is damaged, most commonly by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. This causes an overgrowth and buildup of squamous cells, which forms a squamous cell carcinoma. If an earlier stage of squamous cell carcinoma is left untreated, it will advance to stage 3, meaning it will grow larger and begin to spread to other areas of the body.