Medical experts worldwide agree that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. This is because it has more victims every year than other common cancers like of lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers.

Skin cancers usually split into two major types namely:

  • Melanoma skin cancers
  • Non-melanoma skin cancers

There are some common and uncommon signs and symptoms of skin cancer. A doctor can perform the necessary tests to determine if any of the following symptoms are in fact due to skin cancer.

History Of Ulcers

Skin cancer does not usually happen in the form of growth; at times it presents itself in the shape of an ulcer. An ulcer is when the uppermost layer of skin well known as epidermis is missing. Rather than seeing the skin, you will see the tissue below the skin. In the case of a skin cancer condition, this can happen when cancer the calls are spreading deep inside. (1)

Do not forget that ulcers can also happen as a result of many other reasons, even from just a scratch, so simply seeing one doesn’t mean you have cancer. One of the most common and best to tell what is causing your ulcers is a biopsy of the ulcer or the skin around it.

Changing Mole

A mole is a typical growth on the skin, and it may be present during the time of birth or appear later at one point in life. Most skin moles arise from melanocytes (the pigment-producing cells that melanoma comes from), but the term also refers to other types of benign growths such as seborrheic keratoses.

Usually, moles appear as flat spots or raised bumps on the skin that may be brown or various shades of brown. If a mole you have had for some time starts to change in appearance such that it gets bigger, start to have irregular borders, unexplained bleeding, or unusual itching, this can be a developing skin cancer.

Mass Or Lump On The Skin

Skin cancer comes because of growth of cancerous cells and for that reason appears as growth. The growth or lump may increase in size on the surface of the skin and be noticeable to the eye. On the other hand, it can as well appear under the skin and may only be felt, not seen by the eye. If you notice some growth that lifts the skin, it could be skin cancer.

Irregular Or Asymmetric Skin Borders

Benign moles are frequently regular in shape and edges and appears symmetrical with both sides equal in size. Instead, cancer starts to grow in a disorganized way, causing a mole that looks asymmetrical and uneven. This pattern is the sole reason why cancer invades the nearby skin. (2)

If you notice anything that looks like a mole, whether it is flat or rounded but looks uneven in shape or has irregular borders, ask your doctor to determine if it is indeed skin cancer.

Unusually Large Mole

Even though melanoma skin cancers can unquestionably be small regarding size, they are larger than benign moles, and that’s why the diameter of a mole has important implications. If you have a mole with a diameter that is greater than that of a standard pencil eraser particularly if it also displays an uneven and irregular border, or has some discoloration, then it might be one of the symptoms of skin cancer.

Uneven Skin Pigmentation

A benign growth that happens on the skin is usually just a single color, whether the skin surface is pink or has a shade of brown. It is unusual for a mole to have a pigmentation that is not even. (3)

When you see what appears like a mole but composed more than one or has several colors or shades, consider it as one of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and ensure it is examined or checked out.

Unexpected Bleeding

As skin cancer develops and spread in the body, it can destroy the skin as well as the blood vessels contained in it, causing bleeding. Bleeding is usually associated with one or more of the other symptoms of skin cancer, like ulcers or changing mole.

If the mole you have starts to bleed without any real reason or an ulcer of the skin those results in bleeding, it can be caused by skin cancer. Also, keep in mind that at times bleeding will take place below the surface of the skin surface, causing bruises instead of frank blood.

References

American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2017, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-and-symptoms.html

MAYO CLINIC. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/basics/symptoms/con-20031606

CANCER RESEARCH UK. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2017, from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/skin-cancer/symptoms