Spindle cell carcinomas are a rare and aggressive type of squamous cell carcinoma that form in the skin or tissue cells that line the body’s internal organs.
- This form of cancer is characterized by abnormal spindle-shaped cells. Spindle cell skin carcinomas often develop within the mouth, on the lip, on the tongue, and inside the throat.
- Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer that occurs when cells in the top layer of skin (the epidermis) grow out of control.
Most squamous cell skin cancers are caused by repeated and unprotected skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from sunlight and tanning beds, however, spindle cell carcinomas are not caused by sun exposure.
Risk factors for developing spindle cell carcinoma include:
What Are Symptoms of Spindle Cell Carcinoma?
There may be no early signs of spindle cell carcinoma because it often develops internally. When symptoms of spindle cell carcinoma occur, they may include:
How Is Spindle Cell Carcinoma Diagnosed?
Spindle cell carcinoma is much harder than squamous cell carcinoma to detect and distinguish from other tumors, and may be misdiagnosed as benign (not cancerous).
Spindle cell carcinoma is diagnosed with a physical examination and patient history, along with tests such as:
- Skin biopsy
- Lymph node biopsy
- Imaging tests
What Is the Treatment for Spindle Cell Carcinoma?
The survival rate for spindle cell carcinoma is 39%, compared to the squamous cell skin cancer survival rate, which is 99% when caught early.
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