Squamous cells are a specialized type of cell that are normally found on the surface of a tissue. They create a barrier which protects the tissue below the surface from infections and injuries. The barrier is called an epithelium.
Some examples of tissues lined by squamous cells include skin, the inside of the mouth, the esophagus, the large airways in the lungs, and the cervix. These cells have a flat shape which allow them to withstand stress better than other types of cells. In the skin, these cells 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. It is a very common type of cancer that can start almost anywhere in the body.
Common locations for squamous cell carcinoma include: