5 Common Questions About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is an increasingly common condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age or skin color. The most common locations for skin cancer are areas that are regularly exposed to sun, such as the face, neck, arms, and legs; however, it can also occur on other parts of the body such as the bottoms of the feet and under fingernails or toenails. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Sanova Dermatologists have compiled a list of five important questions about skin cancer that they often get asked by patients so you can better understand this condition, and know when to seek help from a dermatologist if necessary.

Does Skin Cancer Itch?

Yes, skin cancer can itch. Though this does not always occur, some people report symptoms of itching in skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Sometimes itching on your skin may just be due to irritation or rubbing, but if you experience itchiness in a spot on your skin for more than two weeks, or in a spot that is bleeding or changing in size, shape, or color, it is important to seek medical evaluation from a dermatologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of skin cancer.

Does Skin Cancer Bleed?

Yes, skin cancer can bleed. Bleeding or oozing can be a sign of skin cancer and is most common with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), but can occur in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma as well. In some cases, the bleeding may seem to happen almost spontaneously, or after minor trauma such as after applying make-up or shaving. If you notice any type of bleeding from your skin that recurs or lasts for more than two weeks, or in a spot that is changing in size, shape, or color, it is important to seek medical attention from a dermatologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of skin cancer. Early detection of skin cancer helps to avoid long-term complications associated with more advanced stages of the disease; so don’t hesitate to reach out today if you have any concerns about a spot on your skin or a potentially developing skin cancer!

Does Skin Cancer Hurt?

Yes, skin cancer can cause pain, but not always! Depending on the type, stage, and location of the cancer, symptoms of pain may vary. Some skin cancers may be very painful, whereas others may not hurt at all. Other skin cancers may cause the skin to feel sensitive, or to have a sharp stinging sensation when pressed on. If you experience any kind of pain in a spot on your skin for more than two weeks, it is important to seek medical attention from a dermatologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of skin cancer. Detection of skin cancer at early stages gives the treatment a higher chance of success; so don’t hesitate to reach out and get your annual check-up scheduled ASAP.

How Fast Does Skin Cancer Spread?

The rate at which skin cancer spreads varies depending on the type of skin cancer and its location. In general, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the slowest to spread, but can still be potentially dangerous and disfiguring if left untreated for too long. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has a higher risk of spreading than basal cell carcinoma. Of the three most common skin cancers, melanoma has the highest risk of metastasis, or spreading, and for this reason, it is important to be screened regularly so melanoma can be caught in its early stages.

Does Skin Cancer Show Up In Blood work Or CT Scans?

No, skin cancer does not necessarily show up in blood work or CT scans. A CT scan may be ordered if there is concern of metastasis or spread beyond the skin area and into other organs within the body, but this is typically done only after an initial diagnosis is made by your dermatologist. If there is a concern for skin cancer, a dermatologist will perform a biopsy to establish the diagnosis.

Skin cancer should never be taken lightly, as it can spread and cause serious health issues if left untreated. However, with early detection from a qualified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology, many skin cancers can be treated with just minor surgery and have less chance of long-term complications associated with more advanced stages of the disease. An annual skin cancer screening is important to help detect skin cancer early and may be performed more frequently if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer or other risk factors for skin cancer. If you notice any suspicious moles or spots on your skin that bleed, change color or size, or experience pain or itching in an area for longer than two weeks, reach out to one of our experts right away. With their help and knowledge, they look forward to helping you keep yourself safe and getting ahead of any potential problems before they become too serious!

About Sanova Dermatology

Sanova Dermatology is one of the premier locations for skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and Mohs surgeons have extensive training and certifications to ensure that all our patients receive excellent care and accurate diagnosis.

We offer a comprehensive range of services to diagnose and treat skin cancer, including physical examinations, biopsies, excisions, cryotherapy (freezing), laser surgery, and topical skin cancer treatment. Our team also provides the latest in Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer. This minimally invasive procedure is the most effective way to remove skin cancer while preserving healthy tissue and minimizing scarring.

At Sanova Dermatology, we understand that being diagnosed with skin cancer can be a frightening experience. That’s why our team of experts is there every step of the way to answer your questions and provide the best possible care. We are committed to providing personalized treatment and the highest quality of care for all our patients, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today! We are here for you.

For more information on skin cancer and how Sanova Dermatology can help, or to find a location near you, please visit our website or schedule your visit online here.

About the Author

Dr. Melanie Pickett is a board-certified dermatologist that specializes in adult and pediatric dermatology, including general medical dermatology, skin cancer detection and treatment, and rheumatologic dermatology.  She is experienced in the treatment of complex skin conditions and enjoys working with her patients to create an individualized treatment plan that is best for them.

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