How To Identify The Different Types Of Skin Cancer From Their Symptoms

How to Identify the Different Types of Skin Cancer from Their Symptoms?

How To Identify The Different Types Of Skin Cancer
How to Identify Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer, affecting millions of people annually. There are various types of skin cancer, each with its own symptoms and characteristics. As per skin specialists at Sundoctors, to detect skin cancer early and receive effective treatment, it's essential to be familiar with its signs and symptoms.

Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma are the three primary types of skin cancer. Here is a brief description of each type and its symptoms:

Basal Cell Carcinoma:

It is the most common type of skin cancer. It typically presents as a waxy bump, pearly white or flesh-colored patch, brown, black or blue lesion on areas exposed to direct sunlight such as the face, neck, arms and legs.

BCC may present as an open sore that won't heal, or a red or pink raised area that may itch or bleed. It is important to note that BCC grows slowly and usually doesn't pose a life-threatening risk, but it can damage nearby tissues and organs if left untreated.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma:

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer and typically presents as a scaly red or pink bump, or sore that won't heal. SCC may also appear as an elevated growth with central depression or wart-like lesions on areas exposed to sunlight frequently such as face, neck, hands and arms.

SCC can also occur on areas of the body not exposed to sunlight, like genitals or inside the mouth. It's essential to note that untreated SCC has the potential to spread elsewhere on your body, so get treatment as soon as possible.


Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It typically appears as a dark brown or black mole with irregular borders and uneven coloring, or it could be either an existing mole or new growth. Melanoma typically develops on areas exposed to sunlight frequently such as backs, legs, arms and faces.

Melanoma can also develop on areas of skin not exposed to sunlight, such as the soles of feet or palms of hands. It is essential to note that melanoma spreads rapidly to other parts of the body, so it's crucial to get treated promptly.

In addition to these three main types of skin cancer, there are also less frequent ones such as Merkel cell carcinoma, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and Kaposi sarcoma.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma:

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer that often appears as an itchy, flesh-colored or bluish-red bump on exposed areas like the face, neck, arms and legs. These bumps typically develop on areas that receive extensive sunlight exposure such as the face, neck area, arms or legs.

Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans:

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is a rare type of skin cancer that usually presents as an elevated, flesh-colored or pink bump on exposed areas such as the face, neck, arms and legs.

Kaposi Sarcoma:

Kaposi sarcoma is a rare type of skin cancer that typically appears as purple, red or brown patches on areas not exposed to sunlight such as soles of feet or inside the mouth. Kaposi sarcoma tends to occur more commonly among people with compromised immune systems like HIV/AIDS patients but can also affect those without any underlying medical issues.

It is essential to be aware that even though these types of skin cancer are less frequent, they can still be serious and should be addressed as soon as possible.

It's essential to regularly inspect your skin for any abnormal growths or changes, such as new moles or growths or changes to existing moles or growths. If you observe any of the following signs or symptoms, seek medical advice from a dermatologist or healthcare provider:

  • Moles or growths that appear to be changing in size, shape, or color
  • Asymmetrical mole or growth with an irregular border
  • A mole or growth larger than a pencil eraser
  • Bleeding or itching at the site of the growth
  • A sore that won't heal

In addition to checking your skin regularly, it is essential to protect it from the sun by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Avoid tanning beds and limit exposure to direct sunlight, especially during peak hours.

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