Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Also known as squamous cell cancer

Squamous cell carcinomas appear as a raised, crusty, non-healing sore, often found on hands, forearms, ears, face or neck of people who have spent a lot of time outdoors. They are common in people over the age of 40 years old and can be life-threatening if left untreated.


A range of treatment options exist for squamous cell carcinoma:

  • removal of the cancer by biopsy or surgery
  • freezing the cancer with liquid nitrogen
  • topical therapies (e.g. creams)
  • photodynamic therapy
  • radiation treatment

Treatment has a high success rate, provided the skin cancer is found at an early stage.  If you have a squamous cell carcinoma, talk with your doctor about which treatment option is best for you.

Learn more

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin DermNet NZ
Squamous cell carcinoma patient information sheet British Association of Dermatologists, 2012
Squamous cell carcinoma The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2015
Skin cancer information The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2015


  1. Multi-professional guidelines for the management of the patient with primary cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma 2009. Motley RJ, Preston PW, Lawrence CM update of the original guideline which appeared in Br J Dermatol 2002; 146: 18-25.
Credits: Editorial team.