December 2018

Do You Know the Other Signs of Skin Cancer?

You probably know that a weird mole might be skin cancer and should be checked out by your health care provider. But do you know these other signs of skin cancer?

  • Bleeding or weeping sores. They might be the most common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. Typically found on the sun-exposed areas of the head and neck, the sores may be oozing, crusted, and either don’t heal or heal and then come back. The good news is that this type of skin cancer usually grows slowly and can be removed entirely, which prevents the cancer from coming back in the same place.

  • Rough, scaly spots. These might be precancerous areas. The pink-red or flesh-toned spots generally grow slowly and tend to occur more often in people who are fair-skinned. Usually found on the face, ears, backs of the hands, or arms, they may feel itchy or sore. Most of these spots do not become cancer, but some may turn into squamous cell skin cancer.

  • Bumps and growths. Small, pinkish, pearly bumps with blue, brown, or black areas could be skin cancer. Also watch out for pink growths with raised borders and lower middle areas, which might have small blood vessels spreading out like spokes on a wheel. 

  • A dark band on your fingernail. Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is more likely to start on the torso in men and on the legs in women, but it can start anywhere, including on a fingernail. If you notice a dark band growing on or under your nail, see your provider.

Face winter safely

Your skin can still be exposed to the sun’s damaging rays in winter—especially when there’s snow on the ground. Make sure to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.


Spot melanoma

Learn about the ABCDE features that distinguis melanomas from common moles.

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