Squamous Cell Carcinoma Prognosis

The advancement in medical technology and the continued research for better and more effective forms of cancer treatments , has shone a ray of hope to the many people affected and suffering from cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of cancers in the world. However, most people still have a dim understanding of what this cancer actually is and the possible chances of survival or cure for themselves or their loved ones.

What is Squamous cell Carcinoma?

A squamous cell is literally a flattened cell; these cells are commonly found in the membranes that are exposed to the outside environment. The skin is the first line of protection from the environment and has more squamous cells than any other part of the body and is thus particularly susceptible to this carcinoma. A carcinoma is an uncontrolled malignant growth of cells in epithelial membranes.A squamous cell carcinoma can therefore form in any exposed area like the skin, the digestive tract, the penile area, the lung, the oesophagus or the thyroid.

What is the epidemiology?

This is a prevalent type of carcinoma affecting and causing much affliction to many people across the world. Each year over 680,000 people are diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Moreover, around 2500 people of those diagnosed die each year.The cancer is more common in males than in females, at a ratio of 2:1.The older generation is particularly at risk, it is most commonly seen in people above the age of 65. There is a higher occurrence in the Caucasian race because light skin is more susceptible to the sun's UV rays.

The determining factors for a squamous cell carcinoma prognosis

Presently the medical consensus is that majority of those diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma have a good chance of survival. However each patient is different and there are specific factors that may tip the scales before the doctor gives the patient his/her squamous cell carcinoma prognosis.

The body region affected

A person affected by penile squamous cell carcinoma will have a poorer prognosis than a person with skin squamous cell carcinoma. Over 20% of penile carcinomas tend to spread to other organs; this compromises the individual's health and causes quicker mortality. In contrast 9 out of 10 skin squamous cell carcinoma patients get cured, reflecting a more positive outcome.

Early diagnosis

The importance of early diagnosis and thus early treatment in any type of cancer cannot be overemphasized. Routine medical check-ups allow for early tumor detection and are essential in improving a squamous cell carcinoma prognosis.

The patient's overall health at the time of diagnosis

A person who is suffering from other diseases at the time of diagnosis will sadly have a lower risk of survival than a person who was relatively healthy, a major part of chemotherapy is immunosuppression and the body of an ailing patient may not be able to handle this. A younger individual will also have a better chance of survival as their bodies are more resilient.

The paradoxical involvement of the lymphatic system

The cells located in the lymph nodes fight off any harmful pathogens from infections or from cancers. Cancerous cells are usually moved into the lymph nodes so that they can be destroyed. The paradox in the story is that the lymph nodes are interconnected and lymph flowing from one node to the other will result in the spread of the cancer. A metastatic (spreading) cancer is a dangerous cancer; the multiple organ involvement leads to faster mortality.


A diagnosis with this cancer is not a life sentence. The majority of the people affected have actually received a positive prognosis. Prevention is still a better option, protect yourself by avoiding long exposure to either X-rays or sun's rays, applying sun screen, getting a pap smear (to prevent the vaginal subtype) and visit your health-professional incase you notice any suspicious lesions.