Cancer is complex — there is no routine squamous cell carcinoma, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their one particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes —and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, squamous cell carcinoma patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more.Also on that team are squamous cell carcinoma researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only four cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options —many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for squamous cell carcinoma. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual squamous cell carcinoma. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Treatment Options

There are several types of treatment available for squamous cell carcinoma.


Surgery may be used to treat squamous cell carcinoma or actinic keratosis. Types of surgery include:

Mohs Microscopic Surgery

The doctor removes the cancer from the skin in thin layers and each layer is analyzed under a microscope during surgery for cancer cells. The doctor continues to remove one layer at a time until removing a layer with no evidence of cancer cells.

Simple Excision

The doctor removes the skin cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Most radiation is delivered from a machine outside your body that is targeted directly at the cancer cells.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by destroying the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. Chemotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis usually is applied to the skin as a cream or lotion, which is called topical chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy may be used for squamous cell carcinoma that is metastatic (has spread to other organs) or when the skin cancer cannot be treated with local therapy but only in specific circumstances.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy uses a drug and a laser light to destroy cancer cells. The drug is injected in a vein and only becomes active when the laser light shines on the skin.


Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, helps boost a patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Interferon may be injected to help treat squamous cell carcinoma by slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Immunotherapy may be used for squamous cell carcinoma that is metastatic (has spread to other organs) or when the skin cancer cannot be treated with local therapy.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Research & Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only four U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results. Find a clinical trial now.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

If you have received a squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a squamous cell carcinoma specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210


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