Skin cancer symptoms can be divided into two types. The non-melanoma skin cancer symptoms and the melanoma skin cancer symptoms
Non-melanoma skin cancer symptoms generally start with a lasting unusual skin growth (a bump or a sore)
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) symptoms usually begin with translucent bumps on sun-exposed areas such as the head, neck or shoulders. It is common to see blood vessels within the bump. As the center starts to crust and bleed, these bumps tend to be mistaken for sores.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) symptoms are most commonly seen on sun-exposed body parts, but can also be found on genitals and inside the mouth. If left untreated these patches can grow into larger masses. This type of tumor can appear under several forms including:
- A firm, red nodule
- A flat lesion with a scaly crust
- An ulceration in the mouth
- A red, raised patch on the anus or genitals
- Intense itching that can lead to an infection
Melanoma skin cancer symptoms include the appearance of new spots or the change in size, shape or color of an existing mole. Using the ABCD rule will help detect any abnormal growths:
- A is for Asymmetry: if the mole or freckle is uneven (or asymmetrical), meaning one half of the mole does not match the other half.
- B is for Border: if the edges are rough, blurred or irregular, this could be a sign of cancerous change.
- C is for Color: a change in the shade or distribution of color throughout the mole or freckle.
- D is for Diameter: any mole larger than ¼ inch (6 mm) across could be a sign of skin cancer.
Other sign include:
- Redness or swelling that spread to the surrounding skin beyond a spot
- Itching or pain of a spot
- Changes in texture or bleeding/oozing from an existing mole
- Lack of healing/bleeding of a growth
Be aware that skin cancer signs can exhibit in different shapes and forms, some more discreet than others, with growths happening in body parts that are not necessarily exposed to the sun. It is therefore very important to get yourself checked on a regular basis. These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer, but it is important to discuss any noticeable changes with your doctor.