Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Symptoms
What are the symptoms of nonmelanoma skin cancer?
Nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a new growth. Or it may start as a change in
the size or in the color of a growth you already have. These changes can happen slowly
or quickly. Here are things to watch for.
Basal cell carcinoma
This type of skin cancer often develops on skin exposed to the sun. This includes
skin on the head, face, neck, arms, and hands. The cancer may be:
A small, raised bump that's pink, red, shiny, or pearly. There may be black, brown,
or blue areas in it.
A pink raised growth with a lower center. It may have small blood vessels in it.
A firm, flat, spot that looks a lot like a scar. It may look waxy or have pale or
yellow areas in it.
An open sore that bleeds easily and briefly. It might heal up and seem to go away,
but then bleeds again in a few weeks.
Bleeding, oozing, or crusting sores that don't heal
A reddish growth with raised edges that might itch
Squamous cell carcinoma
Like basal cell cancer, it often starts in skin exposed to the sun. This includes
skin on the face, head, ear, lips, neck, and hands. But it can also start in other
parts of the body, like in scars or the skin in the genital area. The cancer may be:
A rough or scaly bump that appears, then grows quickly
A wart-like growth that might bleed or crust over
Flat, rough, red patches on the skin that are irregularly shaped. They may or may
not bleed and crust.
An open sore that doesn't heal or heals and then comes back
Merkel cell carcinoma
Merkel cell cancer tumors are most often found on sun-exposed areas of skin, such
as the face, neck, and arms. But they can start anywhere on the body. They can look
A firm, shiny skin lump that doesn't hurt and grows very quickly
The lump may be red, pink, purple, or blue.
Cutaneous (skin) lymphoma
Skin lymphoma may be:
A scaly, flat patch of skin
Small, raised spots that look a lot like pimples
Thick lowered or raised areas of skin
Patches or bumps that are often red or purple and tend to itch
Bumps or lumps that can be felt under the skin
When to see your healthcare provider
Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it's important
to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible if you have any new, changing, or
growing spots or lumps on your skin. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have