Squamous Cell Carcinoma Specialist

Douglas Swinehart, MD

Dermatologist located in Fresno, CA

Squamous cell carcinoma often develops from lesions caused by exposure to sunlight called actinic keratosis. Dr. Douglas Swinehart practices dermatology in Fresno, California, where he can help you identify squamous cell carcinoma, then initiate treatment.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Q & A

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Like basal cell carcinoma, it develops from cumulative exposure to ultraviolet light, commonly appearing on the face, neck and head, when squamous cells – the most abundant type of cell in your skin – transform from normal cells into malignant cells.

While it can be completely eliminated when caught early, untreated squamous cell carcinoma can spread to underlying tissues and cause significant disfigurement to the surrounding skin. In rare cases, this type of skin cancer can be aggressive and metastasize, or spread to organs throughout the body.

What are the signs of squamous cell carcinoma?

Anyone can develop squamous cell carcinoma, but people with fair skin, light hair, and blue, green or gray eyes are at a higher risk. It’s at least twice as frequent in men compared to women. Patients who have had an organ transplant are also at higher risk due to their immune suppression.  Areas of dry, patchy skin, called actinic keratoses, can develop into squamous cell carcinoma. It used to occur more often in people over the age of 50 years, but it’s being diagnosed more frequently in young adults, so everyone should be aware of changes in their skin, such as:  

  • A red, firm bump
  • A dry, scaly patch (actinic keratosis – which may precede Squamous Cell Ca. )
  • A flat sore with a scaly crust
  • A sore that heals and then reopens
  • A rapidly growing, painful nodule

How can Dr. Swinehart help prevent and treat squamous cell carcinoma?

Dr. Swinehart encourages everyone to come in for a thorough skin examination. While performing a self-examination is a good habit, doing it properly takes time and you need to watch for small changes that aren’t always easy to notice. When you come in for a skin exam, Dr. Swinehart can also assess your overall risk for all types of skin cancer, talk about sun protection, and answer your questions.

If you have a suspicious spot, Dr. Swinehart will perform a skin biopsy to determine whether the skin cells are healthy or cancerous. If it turns out you have squamous cell carcinoma -- or basal cell carcinoma -- Dr. Swinehart will pursue treatment to eliminate the skin cancer, without damaging surrounding skin. Treatment options include surgery, topical immunotherapy, and superficial radiotherapy.


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Insurances Accepted

Dr. Swinehart accepts most major insurance plans. Please contact our office directly with any questions regarding coverage prior to your office visit or if you do not see your insurance provider listed. Please bring your insurance card with you to your appointment.

Anthem Blue Cross
Banker's Life
Blue Shield of California
Capital Health Plan
Delta Health Systems
HealthComp, Inc.