Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Symptoms
What are the symptoms of nonmelanoma skin cancer?
Nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a new growth. Or it may occur 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 look out for.
Basal cell carcinoma
This type of skin cancer often develops in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head,
face, neck, arms, and hands. The cancer may be:
A small, raised bump that is shiny or pearly. It may have small blood vessels in it.
A small, flat spot that is scaly, irregularly shaped, and pale, pink, or red.
A spot that bleeds easily and briefly, then heals up and appears to go away. It then
bleeds again in a few weeks.
Sores that don't heal.
A growth with raised edges, a lower area in the center, and brown, blue, or black
Squamous cell carcinoma
Like basal cell cancer, it often starts in areas of skin exposed to the sun, such
as the face, head, neck, arms, and hands. But it can also start in other parts of
the body, such as 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, red patches on the skin that are irregularly shaped. The patches may or may
Although these are symptoms of skin cancer, they may also be caused by other less
serious problems. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor.
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 usually appear
as firm, shiny skin lumps that don't hurt. The lumps may be red, pink, or blue. They
tend to grow very quickly.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
This type of skin cancer causes scaly patches or bumps. The patches or bumps are often
red or purple and often itch. Here are examples of some skin cancer lesions.
When to see your healthcare provider
Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it's important
to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider
can tell if you have cancer.