What are Some Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

A skin mole.
Most of us are born with moles, so it's wise to look for new ones every once in a while.
Flat skin mole.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Since there are several types of skin cancer, each type will have their own set of symptoms. Usually, it's not possible for the average person to tell with certainty whether a mole or a growth on the skin represents skin cancer. Yet since skin cancer is so potentially dangerous, any new growth of moles, or new growths on the skin ought to be evaluated by a physician.

The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer, and malignant melanoma. They do tend to occur in certain patterns and there are a few things to look for on moles you have, or if you notice a new mole. Most of us are born with some moles, so a good once over look every few months is an excellent idea. If needed, have a parent, spouse, or a good friend help you examine moles you can’t see very well yourself.

For all forms of skin cancer, three symptoms should always warrant concern. These are:

    1) Changes in an existing mole or growth
    2) Emergence of a new mole or growth
    3) Sores on the skin that won’t heal, especially if they are over an existing mole.

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Each form of skin cancer tends to occur in specific locations on the body and has its own distinctive symptoms. For example, basal cell skin cancer tends to occur on the face, neck, upper chest and back. These are areas that tend to get a lot of sun exposure. They occur less frequently on the arms, legs and hands.

Basal cell skin cancers may start as the growth of an existing mole or freckle that enlarges. They may also itch, and scrape easily, causing cuts in the mole that never heal. Sometimes they look like an unhealed pimple or sore, though they can also get very large.

Squamous cell skin cancer also occurs in most of the same places as basal cell. Unlike basal cell, squamous cell may occur on the hands or the arms. Existing moles or new growths may look red or pink and appear inflamed. They can also look like sores that won’t heal as they easily get scratched and form scabs over and over again.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer because it more easily metastasizes and can cause cancerous growths in the organs. Most melanomas are found in areas not that commonly exposed to the sun, like the mid-body and the legs. They often start from a mole that already exists.

Unlike the normal mole, melanomas are usually multi-colored, and their edges may not be even. The normal mole could, if taken off the skin, be symmetrically folded in half. A melanoma doesn’t exhibit this symmetry, but has ragged edges. Occasionally melanomas may also bleed.

Any of these symptoms may indicate skin cancer, although many growths on the skin may behave like skin cancer and be perfectly harmless. Since you can’t tell the difference, it is always important to have irregular moles or new growths checked. It is far better to be safe than sorry, especially when you suspect melanoma.

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Discuss this Article

anon347959
Post 5

I have fingers which have holes where I can see the inner part of the finger. There is also a grey patch near my nail. It looks ugly. What can it be?

anon134036
Post 4

Personal vigilance of moles and noticing skin changes is absolutely essential in early diagnosis, treatment and potential cure of skin cancers.

For without picking up the phone and making that essential appointment with a dermatologist, skin cancer and melanoma can progress.

There is a product available online that records and tracks every single mole warning sign to skin cancer. It's the Visiderm Skin Monitoring System and is a personal vigilance/educational product. It records and track every mole feature. Asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. It allows the user to notice even subtle changes and prompt that essential call to the doctor.

saharadesert
Post 3

my husband has developed small soft swollen like pebbles in his hands, back, chest, belly. if it is not lipoma then what else can it be?

anon19277
Post 1

i had a white spot on the back of my arm, which i went to the doctor about and she told me it was a bite and would go away on its own, since then it has got bigger and has turned a red/pink colour.

Could this be skin cancer?

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