Myth Busters, Skin Cancer, Melanoma Awareness

Can you feel skin cancer? How to tell if you are at risk

Signs of possible skin cancer or melanoma

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 25/10/18

One of the most common misconceptions about skin cancer is that the person can feel a significant amount of pain. While it’s true that skin cancer sites may be painful, itchy, or tender, this is not always the case. Therefore, if you’re not feeling pain, your mole may still need further investigation.

In the list of symptoms that help highlight your risk for particular types of skin cancers like melanoma, pain is, more often than not, absent. There are a number of other symptoms that skin cancer does exhibit, however, that you need to be aware of these.

Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms: Breaking Things Down

There are three main types of skin cancer you need to be aware of. One of which is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). Here are a few warning signs that could be present:

  • The appearance of a shiny pink, red, pearly white, or translucent bump on the surface of the skin
  • A pink growth with an elevated border and a crusted middle area
  • A scar-like white or yellow area with a poorly defined border
  • The development of an open sore that either bleeds, oozes, or crusts, which remains in this state for several weeks at a time

Note that only the last one could potentially cause pain, and even then, it isn’t necessarily guaranteed.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is another type of skin cancer, and this can include signs and symptoms like:

  • A persistent, scaly red patch that develops with irregular borders
  • Patches of skin that sometimes crust over or bleed
  • The development of an elevated growth with a central depression that may or may not rapidly increase in size
  • The development of a wart-like growth that immediately crusts over and bleeds occasionally, but not necessarily often

Very few of these signs are guaranteed to cause pain in someone. In fact, it’s very easy to not notice them at all depending on where on your body they are.

Melanoma, which is by the deadliest type of skin cancer, can appear on areas of your skin that are not exposed to the sun.

More often than not, melanoma takes the form of a new spot on your skin that changes in colour, shape, or size. It can develop at the site of an existing mole. It generally causes no pain at all and is difficult to notice at first

How to Spot Signs of Skin Cancer: Know Your ABCDE

Whenever you perform your own check for skin cancer symptoms, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.

As you take a look at some of the moles on your body (or the ones that appear to be developing), remember the ABCDE method. These five warning signs, if present, mean that you need to get to a GP or skin cancer detection service as soon as possible:

  • If a mole is not symmetrical.
  • Benign moles have smooth, even borders. Potentially cancerous moles do not.
  • Typically, harmless moles have one colour — a single shade of brown. If your mole is a variety of colours, get it checked.
  • Generally speaking, the smaller the mole, the higher the chances that it’s benign. If you notice one mole has begun to grow, you need to get it checked out.
  • If your mole is constantly changing over time, like if it’s shifting colours, shapes, sizes, or border characteristics, this is a sign that you may need to consult the help of a professional as soon as you can.

The ABCDE method of mole-checking can help you separate a problem mole from a normal one. It can arm you with the information you need to make the best decisions.

MoleMap: Skin Cancer Detection Made Simple

Since 2005, MoleMap has been a trusted provider of advanced melanoma detection and surveillance services in Australia. Using the most thorough and trusted skin cancer detection technology in the world, our registered nurse melanographers provide Spot Checks, Skin Checks, and Full Body MoleMaps. Our team of highly trained and independent dermatologists, who work remotely, are experts at diagnosing early stage melanoma.

How susceptible are you to skin cancer? Use our free online assessment tool to determine your risk.

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