Squamous cell carcinoma physical examination
Squamous cell carcinoma Microchapters
Squamous cell carcinoma physical examination On the Web
American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Squamous cell carcinoma physical examination
The findings of physical exam helps us in diagnosis and provides information about the prognosis of the disease. Many times physcial exam done for some other reason may give us a hint for this.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) accounts for about 20% of non-melanoma skin cancers, (with basal cell carcinomas accounting for about 80%), and are clinically more significant because of their ability to metastasize.
- Presence of ulcer makes a point to observe more in detail. It will be a shallow ulcer with heaped up edges, covered by a plaque.
- Irregularity of edges is a striking feature which differentiates it from other inflammatory conditions.
- One third of the lesions are white (Leukoplakia). They may have red articulation at times making it erythroplakia. But only few of them turn up as carcinomas.
- Surface changes are very peculiar for SCC. They are:
- Cutaneous horns
If not seen we can think of a metastatic lesion or any other lesion instead.
- It can be warty/exophytic fungating mass most of the times,especially in the regions of ear, nose at times on tongue even.
- SCC of skin of head neck may at times metastasise to lymph nodes, so they demand a look. Risk of metastasise to lymph nodes depends on the size of the tumour.
- SCC of head neck need a special mention for examination of cranial nerves as they may be involved depending upon the tumour site.
Tongue and oral cavity
Squamous cell carcinoma is usually developed in the epithelial layer of the skin and sometimes in various mucous membranes of the body.
- Leukoplakia/Eryhtroplakia of tongue is seen, mostly on the lateral borders.
- There are chances of spreading to the adjacent temporo mandibular joint, so checking up with the movements of joint is important.
- SCC of esophagus doesn't show any physical signs as such except for difficulty/ pain during swallowing.
Patients do not have any pulmonary signs per se. But if it is malignant it may make the person cachexic. Exophytic lesions have good prognosis.
- It can be source of ectopicc PTH causing hypercalcemia, a para-neoplastic syndrome, which can cause symptoms in turn.
It can present to the physician as nodule, ulcer or as a inflammatory lesion. Erythroplasia of Queyrat is squamous cell carcinoma in situ of the penis.
- Subtle induration can be noticed in pre malignnant lesions.
- Papillary lesions can coalesce to become a large fungating masss.
- ulcers are shallow, round and flat on an elevated base.
- Both these kinds of lesions can be a infected leading to pus, necrosis.
- Palpable lymphadenopathy can be noticed in many cases. 
Variants of SCC with specific characteristics:
- Adenoid SCC - It is more aggressive clinically, seen most of the times in elderly individuals.It has glandular differentiation.
- Keratocanthoma- They appear as solitary nodule,which may involute spontaneously. They have a rapid growth and well differentiated.
- Spindle cell - Resembles SCC, but histologically differentiated into spindle cells (atypical)
- Verrucous - it has very slow,exophytic growth which is well differentiated and locally destructive. It rarely metastasizes.
- ↑ Sufrin G, Huben R. Benign and malignant lesions of the penis. In: Adult and Pediatric Urology, 2nd, Gillenwater JY (Ed), Year Book Medical Publisher, Chicago 199
There is no pharmaceutical or device industry support for this site and we need your viewer supported Donations | Editorial Board | Governance | Licensing | Disclaimers | Avoid Plagiarism | Policies