Cancer, the abnormal growth of skin cells most often develops on skin exposed
to the sun. But this common form of cancer can also occur on areas that are not
often exposed to the sun.
three major types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell
carcinoma, and Melanoma.
reduce your risk of skin cancer by reducing the or avoiding exposure to
ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking you skin for suspicious changes can help
detect skin cancer at its earliest stages. Early detection of skin cancer gives
you the greatest chance for a successful skin cancer treatment.
affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. When
melanoma occurs in people with dark skin tones, its more likely in the areas
not normally exposed to the sun, such as the palms of the hands and soles of
Basal Cell Carcinoma signs and
carcinoma usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your neck
or your face.
Basal cell carcinoma may appear as:
- A pearly or waxy bump
- A flat, flesh-colored or brown
Squamous Cell Carcinoma signs and symptoms
squamous cell carcinoma occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as face,
ears and hands. People with more darker skin tones are more likely to develop
squamous on areas that are not often exposed to the sun.
Squamous cell carcinoma may appear
- A firm, red
- A flat
lesion with a scaly crusted surface.
Melanoma signs and symptoms
can develop anywhere on your body, in otherwise normal skin or in an existing
mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma most often appears on the face or the
trunk of the affected men. In women, the type of skin cancer often develops on
the lower legs. In both men and women, melanoma can occur on the skin that
hasn’t been exposed to the sun.
can affect people of any skin tone. In people with darker skin tones, melanoma
tends to occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails.
Melanoma signs include:
- A large brownish spot with darker
- A mole that changes in color, size
or feel, or that bleeds.
- A small lesion with an irregular
border and portions that appear red, white, blue, or blue-black.
- Dark lesions on the palms, soles,
fingertips, or toes, or on mucous membranes lining the mouth, nose, vagina or
Signs and symptoms of less common
Other, less common types of skin
Kaposi Sarcoma: this rare form of skin cancer
develops in the skin blood vessels and causes red or purple patches on the skin
or mucous membranes.
Sarcoma mainly occurs on people with weakened immune systems, such as people
with AIDS, and in people taking medications to suppress their natural immunity,
such as people you’ve undergone organ transplants. Other people with an
increased risk of Kaposi Sarcoma include young men living in Africa or older
men of Italian or Eastern European Jewish heritage.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Carcinoma causes firm, shiny nodules that occur on or just beneath the skin and
in hair follicles. Merkel cell carcinoma is most often found on the neck, trunk
Sebaceous Gland Carcinoma
uncommon and aggressive cancer originates in the oil glands in the skin.
Sebaceous gland carcinoma-which usually appears as hard, painless nodules- can
develop anywhere, but most occur on the eyelid, where they are frequently
mistaken for other eyelid problems.
that may increase your risk of developing skin cancer includes:
Anyone, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer. However, having less
pigmented (melanin) in your skin provides less protection form damaging UV
radiation. If you have blond or red hair, and light-colored eyes, and you
freckle or sunburn easily, you’re more likely to develop skin cancer than is a
person with a darker skin tone.
A history of sunburns Having had one or more blistering sunburns as a child or
teenager increases your risks of developing skin cancer as an adult. Sunburns
in adulthood are also a risk factor.
Excessive sun exposure Anyone who spends considerable time in the sun may develop
skin cancer, especially if the skin is not protected by sunscreen or clothing.
Sunny or high-altitude climates People who live in sunny, warm climates are exposed to more
sunlight than other people who live in colder climates. Living at higher
elevations, where the sun is the strongest, also exposes you to more radiation.
who have many moles or abnormal moles called dysplastic nevi are at increased risk of cancer. These abnormal
moles - which often look irregular and generally larger than normal moles - are
more likely than others to become cancerous. If you have a history of abnormal
moles, watch them regularly for any abnormal changes.
Precancerous skin lesions Having skin lesions known as actinic keratosis can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
These precancerous skin growths typically appear as rough, scaly patches that
range in color from brown to dark pink. They are most common on the face, head,
and hands of fair-skinned people whose skin has been sun damaged.
A family history of skin cancer If one of your parents or a sibling has had
skin cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease.
personal history of skin cancer If you developed skin
cancer once, you're at risk of developing it again.
weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems
have a greater risk of developing skin cancer. This includes people living with
HIV/AIDS and those taking immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant.
to radiation People who received radiation treatment for
skin conditions such as eczema and acne may have an increased risk of skin
cancer, particularly basal cell carcinoma.
to certain substances Exposure to certain substances, such as
arsenic, may increase your risk of skin cancer.