Skin cancer symptoms can vary depending on the type of skin cancer and its location on the skin. In general, any new or changing spots on your skin that persist for two weeks or more should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
The most common location for certain kinds of skin cancer is on sun-exposed skin such as the face, neck, arms and legs. Skin cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages, though symptoms can appear at any point.
Skin cancer symptoms may include:
- A new spot on the skin or an existing spot that changes in size, shape or color. These changes can vary greatly so there is no one way to describe how a skin cancer looks.
- A spot that is itchy or painful
- A non-healing sore that bleeds or develops a crust
- A red- or skin-colored shiny bump on the top of the skin
- A red rough or scaly spot that you can feel
- A growth with a raised border and central crust or bleeding
- A wart-like growth
- A scar-like growth without a well-defined border
Some people have an elevated risk of developing skin cancer. Review the skin cancer screening guidelines to see if you need to be tested.
Behavioral and lifestyle changes can help prevent skin cancer. Visit our prevention and screening section to learn how to manage your risk.
In rare cases, skin cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Visit our genetic testing page to learn more.