Skin cancer symptoms
Non-melanoma skin cancer
While symptoms of basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma vary, an
unusual skin growth, bump or sore that doesn`t go away may be the first
indication of a non-melanoma skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinomas on the head or neck may first appear as a
pale patch of skin or a waxy translucent bump. It may be possible to see blood
vessels in the center of the bump or there may be an indentation in the center.
If the carcinoma develops on the chest it may look more like a brownish scar or
flesh-colored lesion. As the cancer develops, it may bleed if injured or ooze
and become crusty in some areas.
Squamous cell carcinomas may also develop as a lump on the skin.
However, these firm lumps may be rough on the surface, unlike the smooth and
pearly appearance of a basal cell carcinoma. If a nodule doesn`t form, the
cancer may develop more like a reddish scaly patch. Whereas a skin rash may go
away with time, these rough lesion-like patches remain and continue to develop
slowly. This type of cancer typically is found on the head, neck, hands or
arms, but they can also develop in other areas, such as the genital region or
in scars or skin sores.
However, both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas may also
develop as a flat area that does not look much different from normal skin, so
it is important be aware of the symptoms of skin cancer and discuss any changes
with your doctor.
Checking for skin cancer
Regular examination of the skin for any new or unusual growths, or
changes in the size, shape or color of an existing spot, is key to finding and
treating skin cancers early. If you find anything suspicious, you should
discuss it with your primary care physician or a dermatologist.
While many skin cancers develop in areas exposed to the sun, they
may also develop in areas that are usually hidden from the sun. It is important
to examine all of these areas. In addition to examining the legs, trunk, arms,
face and neck, it is important to look for signs of skin cancer in the areas
between the toes, underneath nails, palms of the hands and soles of the feet,
genitals and even the eyes.