Skin Cancer

Many of us in Australia who enjoy the sun and outdoor living are acutely aware of the dangers of skin cancer. Yet we’re often unsure of the many different types of skin cancer, their causes and treatments. Rest assured Dr Buckland has the expertise and has undergone considerable training to deal with all forms of skin cancer.

SCC - Squamous
Cell Carcinoma (Approximately 30% of all skin malignancies)

Have you noticed a scaly red patch, growth or something resembling a wart on your skin?

That’s when you should turn to Dr Buckland who has extensive experience and training in treating this form of skin cancer.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs) are uncontrolled growths of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers (the epidermis). SCCs often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts and they may form a crust or bleed.

SCCs are mainly caused by cumulative UV exposure throughout a lifetime and can become disfiguring and sometimes deadly if allowed to grow. They may occur on all areas of the body including the mucous membranes and genitals, but are most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, bald scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs. Often the skin in these areas reveals tell-tale signs of sun damage, such as wrinkling, changes in pigmentation, and loss of elasticity.

Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  1. Diagnosis and Staging:

Diagnosis often begins with a thorough examination of the skin by a GP, dermatologist or skin cancer specialist. A biopsy is a key diagnostic tool, where a small tissue sample is collected for laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of SCC. Staging determines the extent of cancer spread, influencing treatment decisions.

  1. Surgical Excision (+/- Frozen Section):
  • Description: Surgical excision involves removing the cancerous tumour along with a margin of healthy tissue to ensure complete removal.
  • Indication: Used for localised SCC without significant spread.
  • Advantages: Precise and effective; minimises scarring when performed by a skilled surgeon.
  1. Radiation Therapy:
  • Description: Involves the targeted use of high-dose radiation to eliminate cancer cells or shrink tumours.
  • Indication: Used for cases where surgery is not feasible or when cancer cells remain after surgery. Can be used in patients not fit for a surgical procedure.
  • Advantages: Non-invasive; may be employed as the primary treatment or as adjuvant therapy.
  1. Topical Medications:
  • Description: Certain topical medications, such as imiquimod or 5-fluorouracil, may be applied directly to the skin to treat superficial SCC.
  • Indication: Limited to specific cases of SCC in situ / Bowens disease.
  • Advantages: Non-invasive; suitable for certain localised lesions.
  • Disadvantages: Higher recurrence rates.
  1. Targeted Therapies and Immunotherapy:
  • Description: Emerging treatments that target specific molecular pathways or enhance the body’s immune response to combat cancer.
  • Indication: Investigational for advanced SCC cases.
  • Advantages: Potential for improved outcomes; under ongoing research.
  1. Follow-Up and Surveillance:

Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor for recurrence or new lesions. Dermatological examinations, imaging studies, and, if necessary, additional biopsies may be part of the surveillance plan. In all cases, the choice of treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific circumstances, considering factors such as the stage of cancer, location, and overall health.

A consultation is crucial to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment strategy for Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Early detection and prompt intervention remain pivotal in achieving successful outcomes.

Dr Garry Buckland is a highly skilled skin cancer plastic surgeon who provides the accurate diagnosis and treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma skin cancers. To find out more, contact us today.