DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Skin cancer after radiotherapy. Squamous cell carcinoma on the lip of an 89 year old woman, two weeks after radiotherapy. Radiotherapy uses X- rays or other forms of radioactivity in an attempt to destroy cancer cells. Squamous cell carcinomas are a relatively common form of skin cancer which arise from the squamous (scale-like) cells in the skin. They are caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight, or by exposure to carcinogens such as tar, arsenic and paraffin. Squamous cell carcinomas can spread to other parts of the body (metastasis) and prove fatal, but if they are caught early they can be treated with drugs or by surgical excision as well as by radiotherapy.
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