ACCC project develops resources to support treatment of patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Due to the rarity of advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), staying current with the latest information on diagnosing, treating, and supporting patients with this diagnosis can be challenging for clinicians who do not often encounter advanced cSCC in practice. To support the multidisciplinary cancer team in treating patients with cSCC, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC)—in partnership with the AIM at Melanoma Foundation (AIM)—has developed resources through its Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Care education project. Under the guidance of an expert advisory committee—ACCC has created a robust compendium of resources, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and real-world examples of effective practices in diagnosing, testing, and treating this patient population.

The incidence of skin cancer is rising, and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is becoming a more significant public health problem. When diagnosed early, these lesions are not only treatable but also curable, but if caught late, they can metastasize and become lethal. The ACCC is spearheading an effort to educate oncologists about low and high-risk squamous cell carcinomas, including when to refer patients for screening or biopsy by a dermatologist and when to consider referring patients with more complex problems to a Mohs surgeon or a multidisciplinary team. This is an important project with the potential to have life-saving results.”

Desiree Ratner, MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology, NYU Langone Health

Based on criteria established by the project’s advisory committee, ACCC selected three regionally diverse Cancer Program Members in areas of high cSCC prevalence to learn about their effective practices in multidisciplinary cSCC management. The University of Missouri Health Care’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, The George Washington University Cancer Center, and Oregon Health and Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute served as model practices for ACCC’s Multidisciplinary Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Care publication.

We had a fantastic experience participating—it forced us to look at our program and our colleagues in a different way. We learned new things about each other and aspects of our program that many of our team members did not know or understand. Participating in this effort helped us recalibrate our goals and think about how we can be a more well-rounded cancer center in order to provide the best care and experience for our patients.”

Vishal Patel, MD, FAAD, FACS, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Director of Cutaneous Oncology, GW Cancer Center, George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common skin cancer in the United States (after basal cell carcinoma), representing 20 percent to 50 percent of skin cancers. This cancer can develop on multiple skin surfaces, including the head, neck, trunk, extremities, oral mucosa, periungual skin, and anogenital areas.1 Compared to other cancers, it’s relatively rare, with 200-400,000 diagnoses each year. Although the mortality rate from this cancer is low, it is possible for cSCC to progress to an advanced stage. There can be significant morbidity associated with the disease, and treatment can be costly, creating significant threats to a patient’s quality of life.

Journal reference:

Que, S.K.T., et al. (2019) Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: Incidence, risk factors, diagnosis, and staging. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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