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Dr. Mayzik
The most common symptom of skin cancer is a change in the skin. It may be a new growth, a change in an old growth, or a sore that won’t heal. Dr. Alvarado, can you tell us more?

Dr. Alvarado
Absolutely, Dr. Mayzik. Skin cancers can develop anywhere on the body, but they most often appear on sun-exposed areas of the skin, most commonly the face, lips, ears, neck, scalp, chest, arms, hands, and legs. Less-common areas where skin cancer can develop are the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, underneath the fingernails or toenails, and in the genital area.

Not all skin cancers look alike. Skin changes that could potentially indicate cancer include:

  • A smooth, shiny, small, waxy or pale lump
  • A firm, red lump
  • A lump or sore that bleeds or develops a scab or crust
  • A flat, red spot that is scaly, rough, or dry, and may be tender or itchy, and
  • A brown or red patch that is scaly and rough

A change in the color, feel, size, or shape of an existing mole or the appearance of a new mole can also be a sign of skin cancer. In addition, moles with black or blueblack areas that appear abnormal or “ugly looking” may indicate skin cancer.

Regularly checking your skin for these types of changes is key to early detection of skin cancer. Keep in mind that in some cases, skin cancer isn’t painful. Even skin changes that don’t hurt should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. A provider can examine the skin changes to determine if further evaluation or treatment is needed.