Skin cancer awareness disease ill illness health doctor with sign
Markus Mainka/

8. Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC)

This photograph, created by Kelly Nelson, and made available by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), depicts a close view of the skin of a dermatology patient's right temple, revealing the presence of an asymmetrical, crusty raised lesion, which was determined to be a case of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. Use of this image requires acknowledgement that NCI is the image source, as well as the inclusion of the website,
Kelly Nelson, National Cancer Institute (NCI);

The second-most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). According to experts, over 1 million people in the United States receive an SCC diagnosis annually.

What is SCC?

Squamous cells are what make our epidermis. When they grow uncontrollably, cancer can result. The reason they become cancerous? DNA damage, which can be caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Since squamous cells make up our outermost layer of skin, they are at higher risk for UV overexposure. Experts estimate that using a sunscreen of at least SPF regularly can cut the chances of developing SCC by 40%.

How deadly is SCC?

If caught early, SCC has a high survival rate. Unfortunately, that optimistic prognosis drops the later someone catches this disease. An estimated 15,000 people die each year from SCC in the United States alone. For reference, that’s roughly twice the amount of people that die of melanoma. It’s important to keep in mind that SCC is far more common than melanoma, though, meaning the survival rate of SCC is higher than melanoma.

The following skin cancer is far less common yet far more aggressive than SCC…

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