Squamous cells are a specialized type of cell that are normally found on the surface of a tissue. The squamous cells create a barrier which protects the tissue below the surface from infections and injuries. Squamous cells can be found on the outer surface of a tissue such as the skin or on the inner surface of a tissue such as the esophagus.
Some examples of tissues made up of squamous cells include the skin, the inside of the mouth, the esophagus, the large airways in the lungs, and the cervix.
Squamous cells have a flat shape which allow them to withstand stress better than other types of cells. Squamous cells in the skin are made even stronger by a protein called keratin which fills the cells.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer made up of squamous cells. Squamous cell carcinoma can start any where in the body although in it most common in locations where squamous cells are normally found.
Squamous cell carcinoma commonly starts in the following areas of the body: