A common cancer of the skin, SCC affects approximately 700,000 people in the United States alone. This marks a 200 percent increase in prevalence of the disease over the past 30 years. Prolonged exposure to the sun stands out as the disease's primary cause, though intense short-term exposure may increase a person's risk.
Uncontrolled abnormal growth within the skin's squamous cells defines the condition. It presents as open sores or elevated growths on the skin, though many such growths may bleed or crust over as they grow. Potentially fatal if untreated, the condition led to the deaths of as many as 8,800 people nationwide in 2012. Survival rates increase dramatically with timely diagnosis and treatment, which may include surgery, topical medication, radiation, photodynamic therapy, or a combination of these measures.