Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Have You Heard of It?

Though there are several types of skin cancer, many people only know of the general term itself. The varying forms are lumped into one, at least as far as communication goes. To the medical professional, general terms are inadequate. Specificity is necessary if we are to understand, prevent, and appropriately treat each type of carcinoma that may affect the skin. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, CSCC, is the second leading form of skin cancer in the US. It is five times more prevalent than melanoma. As such, you’d think just about everyone would know about this disease. It turns out they don’t.

Each year, an estimated 1 million new cases of CSCC are diagnosed. Though early treatment is highly successful at eradicating the disease, statistics demonstrate that approximately 40,000 cases progress to advanced stages each year. An advanced stage of Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma means that cancer recurs or spreads to a point that treatment becomes more challenging. An advanced stage of CSCC also has the potential to become life-threatening.

Despite the high numbers of diagnoses, a recent online Harris Poll of over 2,000 people aged 18 and older reveals that we may still have a way to go to increase awareness about the risks and dangers of squamous cell carcinoma. Through this poll, it was discovered that:

  • 74 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
  • 42 percent have never heard of the condition. In contrast, only 11 percent have never heard of melanoma.
  • Of those who have heard of CSCC, many are not aware of its life-threatening nature.
  • Only 3 percent of Americans recognize CSCC as one of the top three forms of cancer in our country (sitting next to breast cancer and basal cell carcinoma).
  • 54 percent of Americans believe that melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer (the correct answer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by CSCC).
  • 58 percent of Americans do know that melanoma can be life-threatening. However, only 28 percent believe that nonmelanoma skin cancer like squamous cell carcinoma can be fatal, even if they have heard of this type of skin cancer.

The American Society for Mohs Surgery has been established to provide board-certified dermatologists with the training and community they need to enhance their practice to include micrographic surgery for skin cancer. It is important to us that more people become aware of the risks and dangers of skin cancer and that the medical profession continues to progress in its treatment of this disease.

Would you like to know more about our upcoming courses or membership opportunity? Call (800) 616-2767. If you are a patient interested in finding a Mohs surgeon in your area, visit our online directory for assistance.

Posted in: Basal & Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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American Society for Mohs Surgery
6475 East Pacific Coast Highway, Box 700
Long Beach, CA 90803-4201
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