Signs And Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can develop in any part of the body, but often it is developed on skin that is more exposed to the UV radiation. Skin cancer can occur in people of all skin tones. Skin cancer is broadly categorized into three major types: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Following are the symptoms for the different types of skin cancer

symptoms of skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma:

This type of cancer mostly develops on the neck, face or other organs that are mostly exposed to the sun and its UV radiation. Basal cell carcinoma has a very slow growth. It appears as a waxy bump, or a flesh coloured or brown scar-like lesion, that does not heal and might even cause itching or bleeding. Some symptoms of basal cell carcinomas are:

  • Sores or moles that appear smooth and pearly, look waxy or appear as a firm, red lump
  • These may bleed sometimes, developing a crust or scab
  • They begin to heal but never completely heal
  • These can be itchy too
  • It may develop into a painless ulcer.

Squamous cell carcinoma:

These cancers generally occur in the areas which are more exposed to the sun. They can also develop in the inside parts like mouth or genitals. This cancer needs immediate treatment post it’s discovery on the body because it has a very high spreading capability. The symptoms of this cancer are:

  • Red and scaly patches of the skin that bleed
  • Bleeding sores
  • Skin growths which are raised with a center indent that are often tender and bleed
  • A wart-like growth that crusts and bleed
  • Itching, inflammation and tenderness in the affected areas


This is the most uncommon but the most serious type of skin cancer. It often occurs on the legs of women and on the neck, chest, back and head of men, but can develop in any part of the body. Melanoma develops in people of all skin tones. For dark men, it often develops under the fingernails or toenails, or palms or soles.

Following are the symptoms of melanoma:

  • Changes in size, colour or feel of a mole
  • Bleeding moles
  • Brownish spot with dark speckles.
  • Dark lessons on the affected areas
  • Small lesions that appear red, white, blue or blue-black with an irregular border and portions

Symptoms of rare skin cancers:

The following are some of the symptoms of the rare types of skin cancer:

Kaposi sarcoma:

This type of cancer occurs in people who have weakened immune systems or those who have undergone organ transplantation. This cancer causes purple or red patches on the mucous membranes or the skin.

Merkel cell carcinoma:

This cancer develops on the neck, trunk and head. The symptoms of Merkel cell carcinoma are the firm, shiny nodules that appear on or below the skin and in hair follicles.

Sebaceous gland carcinoma:

This cancer is developed in the oil glands of the skin. It occurs as hard painless nodules on the skin, especially on the eyelid.

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