Skin Cancer Symptoms

The common, early skin cancer symptom is an abnormal skin growth that persists for more than a couple of weeks. However, skin tumor symptoms are highly variable (especially in appearance) depending on the skin cancer type.

There are in fact three main types of skin cancer: Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Each has unique skin tumor symptoms.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer.

Exposure to the sun is one of the major risk factors for development of these cancers.

Each skin cancer type will have different characteristic appearances of the abnormal growth. However, even within the same type, great variation can occur from individual to individual.

Skin cancer symptoms:

Melanoma symptoms of abnormal skin growth

  • new, pigmented skin growth typically on a sun-exposed area
  • skin growth may also occur from a preexisting mole
  • flag, irregular brown patch with many small black spots
  • or, raised brown patch with multiple, colored spots
  • or, firm black or gray lump
  • irregular border
  • inflammation
  • bleeding
  • itchiness
  • painful

Basal cell carcinoma symptoms of abnormal skin growth

  • abnormal, persistent growth on the skin typically on a sun-exposed area
  • small, shiny, firm growth
  • growth is usually raised on the skin
  • usually slow growing
  • may result in broken skin and scabbing
  • scar-like in appearance (flat, red)
  • growth border is thickened and white

Squamous cell carcinoma symptoms of abnormal skin growth

  • abnormal, persistent growth on the skin typically on a sun-exposed area
  • red, scaly, crusted skin surface
  • growth is sometimes raised and firm to the touch
  • growth develops into an open sore which does not heal

In many cases early detection relies on people reporting a abnormal skin changes and growths to a doctor without delay. This is extremely important for suspected melonoma cases and melanoma early skin cancer symptoms.

Melanoma spreads very early and rapidly and can often be lethal beyond this stage.

Diagnosis is typically performed by surgical removal of the growth and laboratory examination.

Most skin cancers are controllable and potentially curable, if detected and treated early. Skin cancers that have spread, especially melanoma, are particularly dangerous and prognosis is poor with very high fatality rates.

Treatment is typically through surgical removal of the growth and chemotherapy.

Prevention is key through proper control of sun exposure and use of UV protection (clothing, sunscreen).

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