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Skin Cancer Signs


The first sign of skin cancer is an abnormal accumulation of cells or growth in a particular area of the skin. It can sometimes take form of a pimple or a sore which is unable to heal and may bleed or ooze out fluid. Skin cancers are usually painless and can occur on any part of the skin; however certain areas that are more exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays like scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, hands or arms are more common sites. Skin cancer signs will depend on the type of skin cancer.


Solar keratoses or actinic keratoses are one of the early signs of skin cancer. This is considered the earliest stage where small, scaly spots are found on face, neck, ears, back of hands and lower arms.

Basal cell carcinoma – Small, fleshy bump, nodule or red patches appears on the head, neck and hands or other parts of the body which don’t grow quickly. If left untreated these nodules or bumps can bleed, crust, heal, repeat this cycle and cause local damage to the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma - A common sign of skin cancer in this type of cancer is a bump or a red scaly patch on the rim of the ear, face, mouth or lips. This can spread to other body parts quickly and thus an early treatment is necessary.
Melanoma signs - Signs of melanoma when detected at an early stage can be very helpful in the treatment as this is the most deadly form of skin cancer. Check if any of the existing moles or pigmented spots exhibit any asymmetry in the mole (look for size, shape, color and thickness), any border irregularities (scalloped, ragged edges or poorly defined edges), color (diversified pigmentation with shades of tan, black or brown) and diameter (usually between 6 mm to 50 mm). Identify the following melanoma skin cancer warning signs and consult a specialist (dermatologist) immediately -

  • Any changes in the surface of the mole in terms of size, color or feel.
  • Spread of the pigment form the mole and its border to its surrounding skin.
  • Any bleeding, scaliness or oozing from the existing mole or appearance of a new mole or bump.
  • Change in sensation with respect to pain, itchiness or tenderness.

Early detection of any signs for skin cancer is the surest way to cure the disease. So report any abnormal growth, discoloration, mole or sore to a specialist if you suspect any sudden changes.

Submitted on September 4, 2008