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Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, you may be trying to learn as much as possible about the disease and its treatments. Read on to find out more.

The information on this website should be discussed with your healthcare professional and does not replace their advice.

What is cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma?

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is a common type of skin cancer. It starts in the squamous cells of the skin and may be referred to as a non-melanoma skin cancer.

It is more common among older people than younger people. It generally occurs in people over 50 years of age.

Although it can start on any part of your skin, it usually occurs in areas that are most exposed to the sun.

Treatment with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)

Your doctor will plan your treatment according to your individual circumstances. These include your type and stage of cancer, your general health, and any medication you are taking.

KEYTRUDA is an immunotherapy that may be used to treat cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma if:

  • Your skin cancer has returned or spread; and
  • Your skin cancer cannot be cured by surgery or radiation.

Talk to your doctor to see if KEYTRUDA may be right for you.

KEYTRUDA is not funded in New Zealand for the treatment of patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.


Expand for more information on terms and definitions related to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

Terms you may find useful:

A doctor who specialises in skin conditions, including skin cancer.

A doctor who specialises in treating cancer with drug therapies – for example, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

The expected outcome of your cancer. Your doctor is the best person to ask about your prognosis, but it is not possible for anyone to predict the exact course of cancer.

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Questions to ask your doctor

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Patient Resources


Cancer Council Australia. 2021. Understanding Skin Cancer. A guide for people with cancer, their families and friends.
Available at:
Accessed on 29/09/2023

KEYTRUDA Consumer Medicine Information


National Cancer Institute. Dictionary of Cancer Terms. Medical Oncologist.
Available at:
Accessed on 17/10/2019

NZ-KEY-00870. TAPS DA 2339KN TAPS NP20132. First Issued February 2024.