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Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Let's Research This Together

Research can be fun when you are researching something you love. Finding facts is simply the best when you are interested in the topic.

Arming myself against skin cancer with research

When you are finding out how serious your new medical diagnosis is, though, research can be more than a little nerve-wracking. I have fought the battle against skin cancer since 2007, and I generally feel like I am armed and armed well.

Preparing for yet another Mohs surgery

Today is different. I am feeling pretty down right now, and I don’t often get blue about my skin cancer woes. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in situ last week and have Mohs surgery scheduled in less than two weeks. I don’t really want to go it alone on the research. Want to come with me on this virtual journey? Learn about my diagnosis alongside me? Let’s get started.

What’s on my mind

What does “squamous” mean?

It sounds sort of ominous. Harvard Medical School cleared this up for me. The word “squamous” means “scaly.”1 I totally get that. Most of the suspicious spots my dermatologist removes are dry and scaly.

What in the world is “in situ?”

This was my first bit of good news since my doctor’s office made the call last week. “In situ” means my squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) hasn’t spread beyond the surface and is considered to be in an early stage. Reading that gives me a lot of hope.

What is squamous cell carcinoma anyway?

SCC is one type of skin cancer. It usually develops on skin that has had overexposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet light, like tanning beds. This makes a lot of sense. I tanned for many years. My SCC is on my chest just beneath my collar bone. I burned there more times than I care to remember.

How common is squamous cell carcinoma?

The Skin Cancer Foundation states that SCC is second to basal cell carcinoma (BCC). I have had three of those, so that definitely makes sense. It looks like about a million of us are diagnosed with SCC every year.2 That’s not a statistic I enjoy learning, but at least I know I am in no way alone. Honestly, this probably means I know more than a few people who have had SCC, too.

How serious is squamous cell carcinoma?

According to what I have read, SCC is not melanoma. so that is good news. I found out from searching Harvard’s site that SCC can metastasize if it isn’t caught early.1 If it’s an aggressive subtype of SCC, it’s more of a struggle to treat. I don’t think mine is aggressive, because my dermatologist didn’t mention that in her call. For that, I am thankful.

Thanks for researching with me

Thank you, dear reader, for tackling that with me. I appreciate you tagging along on that virtual trip of discovery. It’s always great to know you aren’t as isolated as you feel. While I have had melanoma and I am well-versed in BCC, squamous cell carcinoma is new to me. I like learning new things, but, well, you know what I mean, right?

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