Human papilloma virus has been associated with SCC of the oropharynx, lung, fingers, anogenital region.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common cancer of the skin (after basal cell carcinoma but more common than melanoma). It usually occurs in areas exposed to the sun. Sunlight exposure and immunosuppression are risk factors for SCC of the skin with chronic sun exposure being the strongest environmental risk factor. Squamous cell cancers of the skin in individuals on immunotherapy or having lymphoproliferative disorders (leukemias) are much more aggressive, regardless of their location.
Squamous cell carcinoma can generally be treated by excision or mohs surgery. Nonsurgical options for the treatment of cutaneous SCC include topical chemotherapy, topical immune response modifiers, photodynamic therapy (PDT), radiotherapy, and systemic chemotherapy. The use of topical therapy and PDT is generally limited to premalignant (ie, AKs) and in situ lesions. Radiation therapy is a primary treatment option for patients in whom surgery is not feasible and is an adjuvant therapy for those with metastatic or high-risk cutaneous SCC. At this time, systemic chemotherapy is used exclusively for patients with metastatic disease.
Australian scientist Ian Frazer who developed the cervical cancer vaccine, says that animal tests have been effective in preventing squamous cell carcinoma in animals, and there may be a human vaccine against this kind of skin cancer within the decade.
- Head and neck cancer
Most cases of head and neck cancer (cancer of the mouth, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, throat and associated structures) are due to squamous cell carcinoma. Symptoms may include a poorly healing mouth ulcer, a hoarse voice or other persistent problems in the area. Treatment is usually with surgery (which may be extensive) and radiotherapy. Risk factors include smoking and alcohol consumption
Causation: Cancers of the head and neck are usually caused by tobacco and alcohol, but according to the CDC, recent studies show that about 25% of mouth and 35% of throat cancers are caused by HPV. The 5 year disease free survival rate for HPV positive cancer is significantly higher when appropriately treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy as compared to non-HPV positive cancer, substantiated by multiple studies including research conducted by Dr. Maureen Gillison et al. of Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.
Esophageal cancer may be due to either squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) or adenocarcinoma (EAC). SCCs tend to occur closer to the mouth, while adenocarcinomas occur closer to the stomach. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing, solids worse than liquids) and odynophagia are common initial symptoms. If the disease is localized, esophagectomy may offer the possibility of a cure. If the disease has spread, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are commonly used.
When associated with the lung, it often causes ectopic production of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), resulting in hypercalcemia.
When squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease) is found on the penis, it is called erythroplasia of Queyrat. This type of cancer responds very well to imiquimod.
When associated with the prostate, squamous cell carcinoma is very aggressive in nature. It is difficult to detect as there is no increase in prostate specific antigen levels seen; meaning that the cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage.
- Vagina and cervix
Vaginal squamous cell carcinoma spreads slowly and usually stays near the vagina, but may spread to the lungs and liver. This is the most common type of vaginal cancer.
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