Research summary: What clinicians need to know about aggressive head & neck SCC

Squamous cancers are very common in the primary care population in Australia, as we all know. And, depending on our location in Australia and the population we are caring for, SCC can be the commonest cutaneous malignancy.

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Certainly, where I work in the rural hinterlands of the Sunshine Coast, SCC, IEC, KA and associated dysplasia caused by solar damage is almost ubiquitous.

The very large majority is seen on the head and neck, forearms and lower legs, of course. This spectrum of disease can cause significant clinical challenge.

While most cases of SCC are small, quite well differentiated and not aggressive, plenty are poorly differentiated and are on high-risk sites. Metastatic SCC is real, and of course is something we want to avoid.

A paper in the most recent Medical Journal of Australia is well worth a read by all of us with an interest in skin cancer, as it outlines a very useful approach to identifying high-risk or dangerous SCCs on the head and neck. The authors use the “DANGER” acronym.

This is well worth reading and I am incorporating this into my clinical practice.

Read the paper here.

– Prof David Wilkinson


For further information on this topic, you may be interested to learn more about the HealthCert Professional Diploma program in Skin Cancer Medicine.


Read more from Professor David Wilkinson on recent research:

 

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