Look Out for These Signs of Skin Cancer This Summer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and one of the most common types in the world. Several factors contribute to the development of this disease, but sun exposure is the most important one. Although it’s nearly impossible to avoid sun exposure during summer, we advise our patients to take measures like avoiding sunbathing at midday and using sunscreen at all times to protect themselves from the detrimental effects of UV radiation.

Another good idea is to scan your body for skin abnormalities. An early skin cancer diagnosis dramatically improves its prognosis, so paying close attention to your skin is crucial. There are different types of skin cancer, and each of them has different signs and symptoms. Below, we listed the most frequent types and explained their main characteristics and how they look in their early stages:


Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It usually appears in areas of your body exposed to the sun, like your neck or face. People with darker skin tones can also develop this type of skin cancer in areas that aren’t often exposed to the sun.

Basal cell carcinoma might look like this:

  • A pearly or waxy bump
  • A flat, flesh-colored, or brown scar-like lesion
  • A bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns


Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Like basal cell carcinoma, it typically appears on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, ears, neck, lips, and backs of the hands, and it can also form on areas that are not exposed to the sun especially in individuals with darker skin. However, squamous cell carcinoma is considered to be more severe as it is more likely to spread to other organs.

Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as:

  • A firm, red nodule
  • A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface


Melanoma is less frequent than Basal Cell Carcinoma or Squamous Cell Carcinoma, but it’s the most dangerous type of skin cancer due to its ability to spread rapidly to other organs (metastasis). It begins in the cells that pigment your skin (melanocytes), so they typically involve an alteration in skin color.

This type of skin cancer can develop anywhere on your body, as a dark sport that appears in what used to be normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes malign. In men, it usually appears in the face or the trunk; in women, this type of cancer most often develops on the lower legs. In both men and women, melanoma can occur on skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun.

Melanoma affects people of any skin tone, and in people with darker skin tones, it tends to appear in the palms or soles or under the nails.

Melanoma signs include:

  • A large brownish spot with darker speckles
  • A mole that changes in color, size, or texture or that bleeds
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black
  • A painful lesion that itches or burns
  • Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips, or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina, or anus


If you detect any of the signs mentioned above or are unsure about an abnormality in your skin, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr Farber. Skin cancer is a serious disease that can be life-threatening if it remains untreated – don’t waste time and have your doubts cleared by an expert. And, if you do have skin cancer, Dr. Farber is an expert in skin cancer reconstruction surgery, which minimizes the appearance of scarring caused by skin cancer treatment.

Contact Farber Plastic Surgery online or call (561) 503-2700 today to get started.

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