Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

(non-melanoma skin cancer) 

SCC accounts for about 30% of non-melanoma skin cancers. It begins in the upper layer of the epidermis and usually appears where the skin has had the most exposure to the sun (head, neck, hands, forearms and lower legs). SCC generally grows quickly over weeks or months.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma symptoms.

Symptoms of SCC may include:

  • thickened red, scaly spot

  • rapidly growing lump

  • looks like a sore that has not healed

  • may be tender to touch.



Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Between 95% and 99% of skin cancers in Australia are caused by exposure to the sun. The risk of skin cancer is increased for people who have:

  • increased numbers of unusual moles (dysplastic naevi)

  • fair skin, a tendency to burn rather than tan, freckles, light eye colour, light or red hair colour

  • had a previous skin cancer.


If you notice any significant changes to your skin, your doctor may examine you. Diagnosis is by biopsy (removal of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope). 



Avoid sunburn by minimising sun exposure when the SunSmart UV Index exceeds 3 and especially in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense. Seek shade, wear a hat that covers the head, neck and ears, wear sun protective clothing and close-fitting sunglasses, and wear an SPF30+ sunscreen. Avoid using solariums (tanning salons).