Recurrent Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head or Neck


Recurrent Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head or Neck: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head or neck (SCC) is a type of cancer that can recur after treatment, and it many cases is more aggressive and difficult to treat than the original cancer. Researchers have identified specific risk factors that can increase a person's chances of developing recurrent SCC, as well as treatment options available for those who already have the disease.

Causes & Risk Factors

The exact cause of recurrent SCC is still unknown, but there are a few risk factors associated with its development, including:

  • Smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • Having a compromised immune system due to HIV, chemotherapy, or other treatments
  • Chronic inflammation of the oral cavity, throat, or nose
  • Previous radiation therapy for tumors in the head or neck
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Having a family history of SCC

Diagnosis & Treatment

Recurrent SCC can be diagnosed with a physical examination of the head and neck area, followed by imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, surgeons may recommend surgery to remove the tumor, or radiation therapy to shrink the tumor. In more advanced cases, chemotherapy or immunotherapy may be used to stop the spread of cancer cells.

If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the lungs or liver, your doctor may recommend targeted treatments such as targeted therapy, which selectively targets cancer cells. Additionally, clinical trials are available for many types of recurrent SCC, offering access to promising new treatments and therapies.


Recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head or neck is a serious and potentially deadly form of cancer, but there are treatment options available. Learning as much as possible about the risk factors and seeking prompt medical attention if you experience any symptoms can help increase your chances of successful treatment.