Does skin cancer always start with a mole?

Melanoma doesn’t always begin as a mole. It can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin.

Can you get skin cancer without a mole?

Many times there isn’t even a mole to check! In fact, only 20-30%1 of melanoma cases grow from moles or are mole-associated. This study found that melanoma often grows from normal skin.

Do all skin cancers start with moles?

Skin cancers — including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma — often start as changes to your skin. They can be new growths or precancerous lesions — changes that are not cancer but could become cancer over time.

Does basal cell carcinoma start as a mole?

At first, a basal cell carcinoma comes up like a small “pearly” bump that looks like a flesh-colored mole or a pimple that doesn’t go away. Sometimes these growths can look dark. Or you may also see shiny pink or red patches that are slightly scaly.

What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?

Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.

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How do you know if a skin spot is cancerous?

Any spot that doesn’t look like others on your body. Any sore that doesn’t heal. Redness or new swelling beyond the border of a mole. Color that spreads from the border of a spot into surrounding skin.

Can melanoma appear overnight?

Melanomas may appear suddenly and without warning. They are found most frequently on the face and neck, upper back and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body.

Are skin cancers painful to touch?

In the case of melanoma, a painless mole may start getting tender, itchy, or painful. Other skin cancers generally do not hurt to touch until they have advanced to become large. The peculiar absence of pain in a skin sore or a rash often directs the diagnosis toward skin cancer.

Is melanoma always malignant?

The vast majority of skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. While malignant, these are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body if treated early. They may be locally disfiguring if not treated early. A small but significant number of skin cancers are malignant melanomas.

Is it a pimple or basal cell carcinoma?

Basal cell carcinoma is the type of skin cancer that most commonly may look like a pimple. The visible parts of basal cell carcinoma lesions are often small, red bumps that may bleed or ooze if picked at. This may look similar to a pimple. However, after it’s “popped,” a skin cancer will return in the same spot.

What does a superficial basal cell carcinoma look like?

Superficial BCC looks like a scaly pink or red plaque. You may see a raised, pearly white border. The lesion may ooze or become crusty. Superficial BCC is typically found on the chest, back, arms, and legs.

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What happens if you don’t remove basal cell carcinoma?

Without treatment, a basal cell carcinoma could grow — slowly — to encompass a large area of skin on your body. In addition, basal cell carcinoma has the potential to cause ulcers and permanently damage the skin and surrounding tissues.

How do you know if you caught melanoma early?

Any change in size, shape, color or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.

How quickly does melanoma spread?

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.

Is melanoma a death sentence?

Metastatic melanoma was once almost a death sentence, with a median survival of less than a year. Now, some patients are living for years, with a few out at more than 10 years. Clinicians are now talking about a ‘functional cure’ in the patients who respond to therapy.