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Squamous-cell carcinoma, spinalioma, epidermoid carcinoma

What is it?

Squamous-cell carcinoma (spinalioma or epidermoid carcinoma) is a malignant tumor of the skin, representing about 20-25% of skin cancers. It may arise in areas of healthy skin or previously compromised by other processes, such as old burn scars, chronic wounds or lesions resulting from cumulative effect of solar radiation on the skin, as solar keratosis.

The spinalioma grows faster than basal-cell carcinoma, affects the skin and mucous membranes (lips, oral and genital mucosa) and can send metastasis to other organs if not treated early.

The use of sunscreens is the best way to prevent its emergence as it mostly affects areas of skin which are continuously exposed to the sun.

Characteristics and symptoms

The lesions affect mainly the face and upper limbs. Begin small, hardened, has rapid growth, and may form large lesions in a few months. The spinalioma grows by infiltrating the underlying tissues and also upward, forming abnormal growths or vegetating (cauliflower aspect) lesions. It may occur ulceration (wound formation) and bleeding.

Squamous-cell carcinoma can metastasize, sending tumor cells to other organs. Therefore, the early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid the involvement of other organs, which decreases the chances of cure.


Besides sunscreen, treatment of lesions that can lead to an epidermoid carcinoma are measures to prevent it. In the case of suspicious lesions, see a dermatologist for an evaluation and early diagnosis.

The treatment of squamous-cell carcinoma is surgical, by total removal of the lesion and should be performed as soon as possible to avoid the occurrence of metastases.

Related articles

- Basal-cell carcinoma
- Actinic keratosis, solar keratosis
- Malignant melanoma

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