Intraepithelial Carcinoma

An intraepithelial carcinoma (IEC) is a common cancer in the outer layers of skin, similar to, but deeper in the skin than, a squamous cell carcinoma. They usually occur in patients who are over 50 years of age and are caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight. The rims of the ears, the face, scalp, arms and hands are commonly affected.

The cancer appears as an unsightly red spot covered in fine white scales that may be itchy or sore. Small IECs are easily removed by burning with a diathermy machine or freezing with liquid nitrogen. If larger, or if the diagnosis is not certain, it is necessary to excise the spot and surrounding tissue. Any IEC that recurs after freezing or burning must be surgically excised. Rarely they may spread by blood or lymphatics to other parts of the body.

Treatment is very effective in early stages of the disease.

Intraepithelial Carcinoma :
Intra means inside the layers
Epithelium means the cells lining the surface or cavity of any organ
Carcinoma means Cancer

(Last modified: 8th Sep 2014)

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