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The following are treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.
Treatment plans are designed to meet the unique needs of each person with cancer. Treatment decisions for SCC are based on:
Surgery is the primary treatment for SCC. The types of surgery that may be offered for SCC include:
Radiation therapy may be the primary treatment for some SCC and is the main treatment used as an alternative to surgery. External beam radiation therapy is used as the primarily treatment for:
Radiation therapy may be given after surgery (adjuvant therapy):
Topical chemotherapy may be used to treat in situ SCC (Bowen’s disease). The most common topical chemotherapy drug is 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Efudex).
It is rare for SCC to metastasize, so systemic chemotherapy is not commonly used to treat it. Depending on the nature of the tumour, SCC may have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Systemic chemotherapy may be used to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the skin that has spread to lymph nodes or distant organs. Although chemotherapy will not cure the cancer, it may slow the growth of the cancer and relieve symptoms.
The most common systemic chemotherapy drugs used to treat SCC that has spread to other parts of the body include:
People with SCC may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.
The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.