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What Are the Seven Warning Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), people of all skin colours can develop skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. As per the report by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1,32,000 melanoma skin cancers and 2 to 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed across the globe each year.

The signs of skin cancer may vary. Sometimes skin cancer symptoms are easy to spot, while some signs are difficult to detect. Often, people don’t identify the signs of skin cancer, resulting in a delayed diagnosis. The warning signs may be subtle and lead to the most serious or fatal outcomes if left undetected. 

Like any other cancer, skin cancer can be treated the best if caught early. Knowing about the most typical warning signs and symptoms is the best way to detect skin cancer early and prevent it from spreading beyond your skin. Read on to know more about the seven warning signs and skin cancer symptoms.

Changes in the Appearance of Skin: The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of your skin. Though skin cancers vary from person to person, there is usually a new growth, a change in a mole, or a sore that doesn’t heal. If there is a change in the appearance of a mole or lesion, it is undoubtedly an indicator that something may be amiss. 

Melanoma, a common skin cancer, can lead to the deadliest outcomes if left undiagnosed. Though it appears as regular moles, they can be differentiated with the help of some distinct characteristics. A simple way to remember these differences and signs is to use the ABCDE method.

  • Asymmetry: The mole or spot in question has an irregular shape and does not have matching halves.
  • Border: The edges or border of the lesion or mole are irregular and jagged. The colour looks blurred and spreads into the surrounding area.
  • Colour: The colour seems uneven. Various colours like brown, black, white, tan, pink, grey, blue, or red may be visible.
  • Diameter: There may be a problem if the lesion or mole changes size. Usually, it increases in most cases, but shrinking might also happen. The typical size of melanoma is ¼ inch or the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving: There may be new moles or irregular patches of skin. Any clear change of a mole must be paid attention to.

It is recommended to keep track of all moles on your body and pay attention to their appearance. Make a note of any suspicious symptoms like oozing or itching.

  1. Changes to your Skin Post the Removal of a Mole

Even after removing a mole, you are at a risk of cancer in that area. Cancer cells may spread far deeper into the skin than you might think. It is important to pay attention to the removal of the scar. If you notice any unusual colours or spots on or around the scar, visit your doctor and get it checked.

  1. Changes in Toenail and Fingernail

Skin cancer can develop under your toenails or fingernails. It can occur as streaks or dark spots below the nail. Keep an eye on your nails to notice these occurrences, usually melanoma. If you are fond of nail paints and apply them frequently, it is essential to check your nails between applications.

  1. Impaired Vision

Skin cancer develops in unexpected places, such as within your eyes. The symptoms of Ocular Melanoma (OM) usually emerge at later stages, which makes it difficult to detect this condition. Regular eye check-ups can help in detecting OM early. Symptoms of OM include:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Dark or discoloured spots near the iris.
  • Increased ‘floaters’ (squiggly cells moving in front of your vision).

The chances of developing OM increase as you age.

  1. Development of Persistent Sores or Pimples

A red or pink bump resembling a pimple might appear on your skin. If the bump doesn’t disappear over time, it is likely a skin cancer symptom. Sometimes skin cancer causes or presents as sores and ulcers that don’t heal.

  1. Persistent Itching

A mole or lesion causing an itching sensation intensely or persistently may have become cancerous. In many cases, it is accompanied by a change in the appearance of the surrounding skin. Do not ignore this symptom and seek professional assessment as early as possible. 

  1. Scaly Patches

Some skin cancer symptoms include dry, scaly, or rough patches of skin. Skin that has turned cancerous remains rough or scaly even after applying moisturizers. Actinic Keratosis (AK), a precursor to Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)usually appears as a lesion on body parts with high sunlight exposure. 


Skin cancers usually don’t cause pain until they grow large. But if cancer spreads along a nerve, it can cause pain, tingling, itchiness, or numbness. Consult your doctor if you notice any changes in your skin, like a sore that doesn’t heal, a new growth, or a change in an old growth. Get in touch with the medical experts at Max Healthcare group for further medical guidance.

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