Persons who present with early SCC lesions and who receive adequate treatment have a 5-year survival rate of greater than 90%. Conversely, patients with advanced SCC tumors with lymph node involvement have a dramatically lower 5-year survival rate, of 25% to 45%.8

Long-term follow-up. Persons with SCC should be counseled similarly to persons with BCC in terms of using sun protection, taking other steps to prevent recurrence, and undergoing skin examinations. Persons with SCC also should undergo regional lymph node examinations.

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Clinicians should be aware that like persons with a history of BCC, persons with a history of SCC are at increased risk for cutaneous melanoma.7

Both groups of patients also should be counseled to avoid the carcinogenic exposure of tanning beds: Utilizing indoor tanning devices more than doubles an individual’s risk of developing SCC.8


Primary-care clinicians are in a unique and critical position of being able to flag patients with risk factors for BCC and/or SCC. These providers also often can identify clinically abnormal lesions that require a biopsy and a subsequent treatment plan. There are two common themes when talking about BCC and SCC: Early detection is key, and prevention is essential.

Abby Jacobson, PA-C, is a physician assistant practicing in dermatology at Delaware Valley Dermatology Group in Wilmington, Delaware, and at Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center of York in York, Pennsylvania.


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All electronic documents accessed June 09, 2014.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor