Skin Cancer

Definitions Squamous Cell Carcinoma - Malignant tumor of the epidermis Basal Cell Carcinoma - Non-melanoma skin cancer Melanoma - Cancer of pigmented epithelial cells

The main symptom of squamous cell skin cancer is a growing bump that may have a rough, scaly surface and flat reddish patches.
The bump is usually located on the face, ears, neck, hands, or arms, but may occur on other areas.
A sore that does not heal can be a sign of squamous cell cancer.

  • An open sore that bleeds, oozes or crusts, and remains open for three or more weeks. A persistent, non-healing sore is a very common early manifestation.
  • A reddish patch or an irritated area, frequently occurring on the chest, shoulders, arms or legs. Sometimes the patch crusts. It may also itch or hurt. At other times, it persists with no noticeable discomfort.
  • A smooth growth with an elevated, rolled border and an indentation in the center. As the growth slowly enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface.
  • A shiny bump (or nodule) that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red or white. The bump can also be tan, black or brown, especially in dark-haired people, and can be confused with a mole.
  • A scar-like area (white, yellow, or waxy in appearance) which often has poorly defined borders. The skin itself appears shiny or taut. Although a less frequent sign, it can indicate the presence of an aggressive tumor.

The first melanoma symptoms often are:
  • A change in an existing mole, or
  • The development of a new, unusual-looking growth on your skin
But melanoma can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin.
Other suspicious changes in a mole may include:
  • Scaliness
  • Itching
  • Change in texture — for instance, becoming hard or lumpy
  • Spreading of pigment from the mole into the surrounding skin
  • Oozing or bleeding

The most important causative factor in common skin cancers is exposure to sunlight.

  • It can be cut out
  • burned off
  • froze off


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