Skin Cancer: Spotting Early Warning Signs and Symptoms

Health Education
May 10, 2021
5 mins
Skin Cancer: Spotting Early Warning Signs and Symptoms

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States.  One in every three diagnosed cancers is a skin cancer.  Approximately one in five Americans get skin cancer at some point in their life.  Because of this, it is important to know the early warning signs to look for.

Skin cancer symptoms

In the simplest terms, skin cancer early signs are abnormal marks on the skin.  These can come in a variety of forms depending on the type of skin cancer someone has.  Moles and other marks on the skin should be checked for growth.  Changes in moles are sometimes signs of skin cancer.

A small bump that develops on the skin may be a type of cancer called basal cell carcinoma.  Sores that bleed, ooze, and crust can also be symptoms of this skin cancer.  These are most common on the neck and face.

Hard, red sections of the skin signal squamous cell carcinoma.  This skin cancer is most often found on the face, hands, and ears.  The skin cancer early signs may be mistaken for a rash at first, but instead of going away over time, it spreads and grows.

Merkel cell carcinoma is the type of skin cancer found in moles.  It appears as a red, brown, or flesh-colored mole that grows quickly and was not there before.  These skin cancer symptoms usually appear first on the neck, scalp, or face.

If you notice a rather large spot of darkened skin, that could be one of melanoma’s early signs.  Existing moles that change or bleed, itching or burning spots on the skin, and irregular spots that are red, pink, white, blue, or black are other skin cancer symptoms.

If you notice any of these skin cancer early signs, contact your primary care provider or a dermatologist.  They will be able to determine if the skin cells are cancerous as well as what type of skin cancer it is.

Causes and risk factors of skin cancer

The most common cause of skin cancer is overexposure to the sun.  People who often get sunburned, frequent tanning beds, and don’t wear sunscreen are at a higher risk to get skin cancer.  People with fair skin are also more at risk because they can get sunburned easier than people with darker skin.  Living at a higher altitude or in a warmer climate are also factors, as people who live in places like these are exposed to more UV rays.

People with lots of moles, especially irregular moles, are more likely to develop skin cancer.  Watch carefully for any changes that could be skin cancer early signs.  Family history also plays a factor, as does personal medical history.  Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop skin and other cancers.

Protect yourself from skin cancer

The best way to prevent yourself from getting skin cancer is to limit your exposure to ultraviolet rays.  This means staying out of the sun when it is at its brightest and wearing sunscreen when you are exposed.  Do not use tanning beds, and be aware that some medications can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.  Talk to your doctor if you are worried you are at risk for developing skin cancer.

Found early signs of skin cancer?

If you have skin cancer symptoms, BASS Medical Group can help.  They have primary care providers as well as dermatologists on staff.  No matter your need, BASS Medical is committed to providing the best care possible and taking care of you so you can get back to living a healthy life.  Call (925) 350-4044 today to schedule an appointment.