Skin Cancer : Symptoms, Signs and Causes

Skin cancer symptoms may vary depending on the type of skin cancer that an individual has been diagnosed with. There may be a variety of changes in the skin that are indicative of skin carcinoma. It is important for one to keep an eye on these changes and promptly see a doctor when something is not normal.

The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. All three types have their own set of signs and symptoms, which also helps the doctors distinguish between them.

Also, having a clear understanding of these signs and symptoms of skin cancer can help doctors arrive at a proper diagnosis of the disease and line up an effective treatment.

Who is Mainly Affected by Skin Cancer?

Though carcinoma of the skin can affect any age group, some people are at a higher risk of getting the disease than others. Individuals who stay in the sun for long hours and are overexposed to ultraviolet rays, those with a fairer skin complexion, those with a history of skin carcinoma, and some medical conditions such as albinism are found to have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

What are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

Here are some common signs of skin cancer that should be paid attention to, and those having these signs and symptoms should promptly see a doctor for a conclusive diagnosis.

Skin Cancer Types & Their Symptoms

Here are the different types of skin cancer and their associated symptoms.

What are the Common Skin Cancer Causes?

Though it is known that the major reason for skin cancer is mutations in the skin cells, the actual cause of these mutations is not known. Thus, there is no reliable answer to the question, 'what causes skin cancer?' However, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of skin cancer development.

When to See a Dermatologist?

Regular visits to the dermatologist, especially if you have any of the risk factors for skin cancer, are effective in the early diagnosis and potential prevention of skin cancer. Also, if you have any suspicious moles or lesions on the skin or any other symptoms of skin cancer, it is necessary to see a doctor.


Skin cancer symptoms and possible causes are integral to an effective diagnosis. This information significantly helps doctors design a proper course of treatment as per every individual's symptoms and signs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are not painful. However, melanoma is a skin cancer type that can cause pain.

The major risk factor for skin cancer is overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Skin cancer forms in different layers of the skin or different types of skin cells, depending on the type. Basal cell carcinoma forms in the basal cells of the epidermis layer; squamous cell carcinoma arises from the squamous cells of the epidermis layer; and melanoma arises from the melanocytes.

Skin cancer is relatively easy to notice, as it is visible to the naked eye in most cases. Knowing what to look for is the key to the early detection of skin cancer. The following are the most important signs of skin cancer one must keep an eye on:

  • Unusual moles
  • Assymetrical moles
  • Changes in the color, shape, and texture of moles
  • Itchiness and bleeding
  • Persistent sores

In the early stages of cancer, the patient may not feel any kind of discomfort or pain. However, as the cancer progresses, there may be subtle changes in the body, such as new lesions or growth on the skin.

'Cancer spots on the skin' is basically a term used for describing abnormal skin growths or lesions that are a sign of skin cancer.

Skin cancer’s last stage symptoms include pain as the cancer spreads to other organs of the body, issues with swelling, difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal symptoms, unexpected weight loss, fatigue, and jaundice.

The symptoms of melanoma stage 4 include swollen lymph nodes, respiratory issues, liver issues, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and neurological symptoms.

There is basically no difference between the symptoms of skin cancer in males and females. The signs and symptoms of skin cancer are common in both genders and depend heavily on the type of cancer.