Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancers may appear as a new growth or mole, or as a change in the size or in the color of a growth or mole you already have. These changes can happen slowly or quickly. Symptoms of skin cancer vary depending on the type.

Basal cell carcinoma:

  • A small, raised bump that is shiny or pearly. It may have small blood vessels in it
  • A small, flat spot that is scaly, irregularly shaped, and pale, pink, or red
  • A spot that bleeds easily and briefly, then heals up and appears to go away. It then bleeds again in a few weeks
  • A growth with raised edges, a lower area in the center, and brown, blue, or black areas

Squamous cell carcinoma:

  • A rough or scaly bump that appears, then grows quickly
  • A wart-like growth that might bleed or crust over
  • Flat, red patches on the skin that are irregularly shaped. The patches may or may not bleed


New or changing moles or dysplastic nevi, clusters of pigmented cells that are often dark brown or black.

Learn the ABCDE skin guide to identify symptoms of melanoma.

Dermatologists may also recommend a yearly skin exam for people who have numerous moles or an increased risk of melanoma and skin cancer.

Cutaneous lymphoma

The symptoms of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma may resemble other dermatological conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Although these are symptoms of skin cancer, they may also be caused by other less serious problems. Talk to your physician if you experience any of these symptoms.