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What are the treatment options for stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Treatment options for stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma include surgical and non-surgical procedures. Doctors will often start by trying to surgically remove the tumor. Since stage 3 tumors are larger than those of earlier stages, one effective method is a procedure called Mohs surgery, which involves removing the tumor layer by layer and testing each layer for cancer. This method is good for larger tumors or those on areas of thin, sensitive skin because it helps preserve as much tissue as possible. Another common method is simple excision, which involves surgically removing the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. Sometimes, doctors may remove the squamous cell carcinoma using curettage and electrodessication, which involves scraping off the top layers of skin and then burning the base of the tumor with an electric needle. In other cases, doctors may recommend cryosurgery (freezing the tumor) or laser therapy (burning the tumor). If the cancer has begun to spread, doctors may recommend radiation therapy and, in some cases, surgical removal of the lymph nodes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.