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Cutaneous (kyoo-TAY-nee-us) squamous (SKWAY-mus) cell carcinoma (sel KAR-sih-NOH-muh) (CSCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer in the United States. CSCC starts in squamous cells, which are a type of flat, thin cell in the top layer of the skin (the top layer of the skin is known as the epidermis).
CSCC develops when squamous cells go through changes called mutations in their DNA. A cell’s DNA contains instructions that tell a cell what to do. The mutations tell the squamous cells to grow out of control and to continue living and dividing when normal cells would die, which can result in tumor development. Most of the DNA mutations in these skin cells are caused by ultraviolet exposure from sunlight and in tanning lamps and tanning beds.
CSCC can appear as scaly red patches, open sores, rough, thickened, or wart-like skin, or raised growths with a central depression.
CSCC that has spread extensively or aggressively, or in some cases has not responded to multiple treatments and has returned repeatedly, is considered advanced because it has spread or cannot be cured by surgery or radiation.
The following photos are examples of what CSCC might look like.
Actual clinical trial patients. It is important to remember that these are only some examples, and CSCC can look different in every patient.
For more information on what CSCC may look like, please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation site listed in our patient resources section to view other examples and warning signs of CSCC.
The inclusion of the organization listed above does not imply endorsement of LIBTAYO or Regeneron.