Skin cancer types and symptoms

Check for signs of skin cancer

skin cancer types and symptoms

Like many cancers, skin cancers -- including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma -- start as precancerous lesions. This WebMD.

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The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death. It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection. It's important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so that you notice any changes. Skin cancers rarely hurt and are much more frequently seen than felt. Develop a regular habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles. There are three main types of skin cancer- melanoma including nodular melanoma , basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Almost all of us have moles.

The earlier a skin cancer is identified, the easier it's to treat. To spot skin cancers early, it helps to know how your skin normally looks. That way, you'll notice any changes more easily. This is very important if you are regularly outside in the sun for work or leisure. Nodular basal cell cancers look see through translucent and often you can see their blood vessels.

Back to Health A to Z. The term non-melanoma distinguishes these more common types of skin cancer from the less common skin cancer known as melanoma , which can be more serious. It affects more men than women and is more common in the elderly. The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that continues to persist after a few weeks, and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years. In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly. Non-melanoma skin cancer most often develops on areas of skin regularly exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest and back.

Regular examination of the skin for any new or unusual growths, or changes in existing moles is critical.
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Skin cancer can also develop on less exposed areas of your body, such as these locations:. Skin cancers often appear as a suspicious mole, freckle, or spot. But accompanying symptoms depend on the type of skin cancer. An actinic keratosis, known as a precancer, is a scaly or crusty lesion. It may appear on various areas of your body:. These areas are most frequently exposed to the sun.

If you're struggling to find what you need, call our Support line on 7 days a week, 8am-8pm. They are usually painless and grow slowly. They can show up anywhere on your body. BCCs are more likely to develop on skin that is regularly exposed to the sun, especially on the face, head and neck. Ruth Fox, Macmillan Skin Cancer Nurse Specialist, talks about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and how it is diagnosed. About our cancer information videos. SCCs usually develop in areas that have been damaged by sun exposure.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. Nearly all skin cancers can be treated effectively if they are found early, so knowing what to look for is important. There are many types of skin cancer, each of which can look different on the skin.


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