Prevention of Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

The prevention of Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin has the same guidelines used for Basal cell carcinoma. The key principles of prevention are minimizing sun exposure and getting regular checkups. To protect against the development of SCC, one must:

Avoid Sun:
Sun exposure is the number one risk factor for skin cancer and avoidance is the key to prevention. One must avoid the hottest part of the day which is from 10 am to 3 pm. For those who work indoors, this is an easy solution, but for those who work outdoors, this may require a change in job. The more intense and prolonged the sun exposure, the greater the chance of developing skin cancer

Use sunscreens:
For those who are exposed to sun, the use of sunscreens is essential. The sunscreen should be worn on a daily basis and applied 20 minutes before going out in the sun. If in the sun, sunscreens must be reapplied every 2-3 hours. While at the beach, sunscreens must be applied each time one showers or performs exercise. Current sunscreens which contain organic and inorganic compounds can block most of the harmful UV rays

One should be aware that just using sunscreens as a protection against skin cancer is not enough. For better skin cancer prevention, sunscreens must be combined with other methods mentioned above.

Wear protective clothing: Sunscreens are not 100% protection proof and thus one must also wear protective clothing against the UV rays. Covering the hands and legs with clothing is essential. Wide brimmed hats also help to protect the face. Recently newer clothing fabrics have been designed which can repel the UV rays. These clothing, although slightly expensive are fast catching on Australian beaches.

Avoid tanning beds: Despite claims by tanning saloons that these products are safe, do not be deceived. Tanning booths are a very high risk for skin cancers and should be avoided. Tanning lamps fare no better and are best avoided. For those who like the bronze look, buy a tanning spray. It may not be long lasting or be the real thing, but at least it is safe.

Phototoxicity: There are some prescription medications that may cause an abnormal sensitivity to sunlight. These include antibiotics, Accutane and medications used to treat diabetes. One should avoid the sun when taking these medications; other wise one will develop a serious sunburn

Skin checks: All individuals who have had a history of sun exposure should be regularly checked up by their physician. For those who have had a prior diagnosis of SCC, recurrences are common and check ups should be more frequent.

Diet: Some researchers advocate mega doses of vitamins and nutrients to prevent skin cancer. In the healthy individual large doses of such minerals, nutrients and vitamins are unnecessary. The best thing is to eat a healthy nutritious diet with adequate amounts of vegetable and fruits. Spending money on fruits instead of chalk containing tablets is not only more sensible but also cheaper

Perform a regular skin self-examination in addition to having an annual skin examination by your physician. Experts recommend that individuals should be more observant about their skin condition and have the skin checked by friends or family regularly. Any new growth should be recorded and its size, shape and color followed. If there are any changes, one should see a physician.

Individuals with high risk factors for melanoma should regularly see a dermatologist.

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