Risk Factors:  Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Anyone can develop squamous cell carcinoma; however, the following increases one’s risk of developing this cancer:

bullet Frequent exposure to sunlight, tanning beds, and/or sunlamps over many years
bullet Pale white skin, especially when the person also has red or blond hair and blue, green, or gray eyes
bullet Sun sensitive, or tendency to burn or freckle rather than tan
bullet Personal or family history of squamous cell carcinoma
bullet Chronic skin ulcers
bullet Actinic keratoses (These lesions have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma.)
bullet Overexposure or long-term exposure to X-rays (or any other ionizing radiation)
bullet History of exposure to arsenic, coal, industrial tar, or paraffin
bullet Long-term treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, such as those used to prevent organ rejection
bullet Weakened immune system; conditions that weaken the immune system include lymphoma and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
bullet Tobacco use
bullet Received psoralen + ultraviolet light A (PUVA) therapy for treatment of psoriasis
bullet Xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare inherited condition that makes one less able to repair damage caused by sunlight

Additionally, certain risk factors make squamous cell carcinoma more likely to spread:

bullet Weakened immune system
bullet Location on the body: It is more likely to spread, when the tumor is located on a lip, ear, the scalp, or within a scar that developed after a burn
bullet Tumor was treated and has recurred

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

Middle-aged and elderly persons, especially those with fair complexions and frequent sun exposure, are most likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma.

American Academy of Dermatology





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