Buildup Of Bile Salts
Bile is a digestive liquid that’s produced by the liver and mostly made of bile salts.
Blocked bile ducts, which are the tubes that carry bile from the liver, or the breakdown of red blood cells can both lead to the buildup of bile salts under the skin. This often leads to severe itching.
This may occur with leukemias and lymphomas due to the breakdown of blood cells. It may occur in abdominal cancers, such as those of the liver and gallbladder, and any cancer that spreads to the liver such as breast, lung, colon cancers, and more.
Sometimes the buildup of bile salts is associated with jaundice, though not always.
Is It A Skin Cancer Rash
Rashes can occur for a wide variety of different reasons, so its difficult to determine if one could be cancer just by looking at it. Skin rashes are commonly caused by allergies, infections, exposure to heat, and irritation from chemicals such as in washing detergents.
However, certain types of unexplained rashes can be a sign of skin cancer. Most people think of moles and dark patches on the skin when they think about skin cancer, but a rash can also be associated with skin cancer.
The most effective way to identify a skin cancer rash is to examine your skin on a regular basis. If you notice an unexplained rash thats not going away on its own, it is recommended to visit a health care provider or dermatologist for advice.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Signs And Symptoms
Generally found on the ears, face and mouth, squamous cell carcinoma can be more aggressive than basal cell. Untreated, it may push through the skin layers to the lymphatic system, bloodstream and nerve routes, where it can cause pain and symptoms of serious illness.
Squamous cell cancer often starts as a precancerous lesion known as actinic keratosis . When it becomes cancerous, the lesion appears raised above the normal skin surface and is firmer to the touch. Sometimes the spot shows only a slight change from normal skin.
Other signs include:
- Any change, such as crusting or bleeding, in an existing wart, mole, scar or other skin lesion
- A wart-like growth that crusts and sometimes bleeds
- A scaly, persistent reddish patch with irregular borders, which may crust or bleed
- A persistent open sore that does not heal and bleeds, crusts or oozes
- A raised growth with a depression in the center that occasionally bleeds and may rapidly increase in size
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Early Detection Best Practices
When caught promptly, almost all squamous cell carcinomas of the skin can be successfully treated. But when they become more advanced, these skin cancers can become dangerous.
Thats why its important to be on the lookout for any SCC warning signs, including new,changing or unusual skin growths.
Does Skin Cancer Affect People With Skin Of Color
People of all skin tones can develop skin cancer. If you are a person of color, you may be less likely to get skin cancer because you have more of the brown pigment, melanin, in your skin.
Although less prevalent than in nonwhite people, when skin cancer does develop in people of color, its often found late and has a worse prognosis. If youre Hispanic, the incidence of melanoma has risen by 20% in the past two decades. If youre Black and develop melanoma, your five-year survival rate is 25% lower than it is for white people . Part of the reason may be that it develops in less typical, less sun-exposed areas and its often in late-stage when diagnosed.
How Do People Find Signs Of Melanoma On Their Own Skin
Performing a skin self-exam as often as recommended by your dermatologist is the best way. While examining your skin, you want to look for the following:
Mole that is changing in any way
Spot that looks different from the rest of the spots on your skin
Growth or spot on your skin that itches, bleeds, or is painful
Band of color beneath or around a nail
Sore that doesnt heal or heals and returns
The ABCDEs of melanoma can help you find changes to a mole, freckle, or other spot on your skin.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed
First, your dermatologist may ask you if you have noticed any changes in any existing moles, freckles or other skin spots or if youve noticed any new skin growths. Next, your dermatologist will examine all of your skin, including your scalp, ears, palms of your hands, soles of your feet, between your toes, around your genitals and between your buttocks.
If a skin lesion is suspicious, a biopsy may be performed. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist. Your dermatologist will tell you if your skin lesion is skin cancer, what type you have and discuss treatment options.
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Side Effects Of Radiotherapy
If you have radiotherapy, the skin in the treated area can become pink, dry and itchy. Dark skin might become darker. Rarely, the skin can become blistered, a bit like sunburn. This is more likely in folds of skin, such as under the breasts, in the groin or armpits avoid using deodorants and anti-perspirants under your arms until these problems have cleared up.
Skin reactions are usually at their worst a few days after finishing radiotherapy treatment. Your skin then starts to heal. Speak to a member of your radiotherapy team if you have broken skin in the treated area. They might offer you a soothing gel to apply.
Radiation recall is a rare side effect of radiotherapy. It causes redness and skin inflammation. This can happen if you have certain chemotherapy drugs and days, or even months, after radiotherapy. It can also happen with some targeted therapies . Radiation recall is triggered by the chemotherapy drugs and happens in the area that was treated by radiotherapy.
Usually, radiation recall is mild and goes away on its own within a couple of weeks. However, it is important to protect inflamed skin from the sun by wearing a hat. If you have hair loss, you should also apply sunscreen to your scalp.
Seek medical advice if your symptoms are severe or longer-lasting, in case you need treatment.
Many factors affect how likely you are to have skin problems as a side effect of radiotherapy. These include:
How Often Should I Have My Skin Checked By A Doctor
An annual skin screening from a board-certified dermatologist is important, especially if you have a large number of moles, other risk factors for skin cancer or live in a place where the sun shines year round . Annual skin screenings may identify skin cancer early, when its more easily treated. If you have a history of melanoma, your dermatologist may want to see you more than once a year.
Between professional skin screenings, its a good idea to periodically check your skin for any new signs of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society shows you how to perform a skin self-exam.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is actually one of the easiest cancers to find. Thats because skin cancer usually begins where you can see it.
You can get skin cancer anywhere on your skin from your scalp to the bottoms of your feet. Even if the area gets little sun, its possible for skin cancer to develop there.
You can also get skin cancer in places that may surprise you. Skin cancer can begin under a toenail or fingernail, on your genitals, inside your mouth, or on a lip.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Melanoma
Melanoma is a skin cancer that can show up on the skin in many ways. It can look like a:
Spot that looks like a new mole, freckle, or age spot, but it looks different from the others on your skin
Spot that has a jagged border, more than one color, and is growing
Dome-shaped growth that feels firm and may look like a sore, which may bleed
Dark-brown or black vertical line beneath a fingernail or toenail
Band of darker skin around a fingernail or toenail
Slowly growing patch of thick skin that looks like a scar
This early melanoma could be mistaken for a mole, so its important to look carefully at the spots on your skin.
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What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cells line the deepest layer of the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin.
Like SCCs, basal cell carcinomas can take on many forms, including:
- A reddish patch or irritated area of skin, which may itch or hurt
- An open sore that doesnt heal, or one that heals and later returns
- A shiny, possibly translucent bump or nodule
- A small, pink growth
- A flat, waxy-looking white or yellow area that resembles a scar
- A scar or growth with slightly elevated, rolled edges and/or a depression in the middle
Basal cell carcinomas typically appear in areas that are exposed to the sun. Because they grow slowly, they are usually curable. However, if left untreated, they can grow deep into the skin and cause disfiguration.
How To Spot An Scc
SCC of the skin can develop anywhere on the body but is most often found on exposed areas exposed to ultraviolet radiation like the face, lips, ears, scalp, shoulders, neck, back of the hands and forearms. SCCs can develop in scars, skin sores and other areas of skin injury. The skin around them typically shows signs of sun damage such as wrinkling, pigment changes and loss of elasticity.
SCCs can appear as thick, rough, scaly patches that may crust or bleed. They can also resemble warts, or open sores that dont completely heal. Sometimes SCCs show up as growths that are raised at the edges with a lower area in the center that may bleed or itch.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck
Skin cancers usually present as an abnormal growth on the skin. The growth may have the appearance of a wart, crusty spot, ulcer, mole or sore. It may or may not bleed and can be painful. If you have a preexisting mole, any change in the characteristics of this spot such as a raised or an irregular border, irregular shape, change in color, increase in size, itching or bleeding are warning signs of melanoma. Sometimes the first sign of melanoma or squamous cell cancer is an enlarged lymph node.
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To help people find a possible melanoma on their skin, dermatologists created the ABCDEs of melanoma:
|A is for Asymmetry|
If you find a spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, see a board-certified dermatologist for a skin exam.
The following pictures can help you see how the ABCDEs of melanoma can appear on the skin.
Noncancerous Causes Of Skin Rash
While some cancers can lead to a skin rash, rashes can also be caused by a variety of other much less dangerous sources.
Most rashes are commonly harmless and unlikely to cause permanent damage. If you notice an unexplained rash suddenly appearing on your skin, visit a health care provider for advice and treatment.
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Are All Moles Cancerous
Most moles are not cancerous. Some moles are present at birth, others develop up to about age 40. Most adults have between 10 and 40 moles.
In rare cases, a mole can turn into melanoma. If you have more than 50 moles, you have an increased chance of developing melanoma.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It needs as much attention as any other health concern. What may seem like an innocent cosmetic imperfection, may not be. Performing regular skin self-checks is important for everyone and is especially important if you are a person at increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is also color-blind. If you are a person of color, skin cancer can happen to you. Check your skin every month for any changes in skin spots or any new skin growths. Consider taking skin selfies so you can easily see if spots change over time. If youre a person of color, be sure to check areas more prone to cancer development, such as the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, between your toes, your genital area and under your nails. Takes steps to protect your skin. Always wear sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day of the year. Wear UV-A/UV-B protective sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeve shirts and pants. See your dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin check.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/19/2021.
Does Skin Cancer Hurt To The Touch
In the case of melanoma, a painless mole may start getting tender, itchy, or painful.
When skin cancer has grown considerably, it may ulcerate and cause symptoms, such as pain and discomfort. Skin cancer generally presents as:
- New growth on the skin
- A changing mole or a mole that looks different from others
- A rough or scaly patch on the skin
- A non-healing ulcer or sore or one that keeps coming back
- A mole or spot that has an irregular shape or appearance
- A skin patch or mole with an uneven color
- A brown or black streak under a nail
- A skin patch that itches or bleeds
- A skin patch or growth that is increasing in size
Skin cancer can be detected quite easily since you can see the changes occurring on your skin. Sometimes skin cancer may arise at relatively concealed places, such as inside your mouth, around your genitals, or under a nail. Thus, you must examine yourself thoroughly, preferably in front of a mirror or with the help of your partner, friend, or family member, to look for any signs that may indicate skin cancer.
How Does Skin Cancer Produce Signs And Symptoms
In skin cancer, the cells DNA is damaged which causes them to mutate and reproduce abnormally. The cells then form a mass of cancer cells that presents as an abnormal bump, lesion or mole.
As the skin cancer spreads along the nerves, it can produce itching, pain and numbness.
Exposure to UV radiation from the sun and from tanning beds is just one factor that can damage cells DNA and lead to skin cancer. The damage to the cells DNA can occur several years before the cancer develops.
Being exposed to certain toxic chemicals and having a weakened immune system are additional factors which can contribute to the development of skin cancer.
Staging describes where the lung cancer is located, if it has spread and whether the tumour is affecting other parts of the body. Stage 0 means there are cancer cells present, yet they havent spread or grown into surrounding cells. Stage 1 means the cancer is 2cm or less and has one or no high risk features . Stage 2 means the cancer is 2cm or more and has 2 or more high risk features. Stages 3-4 mean the cancer has spread to a lymph node or other internal organs and is advanced.
When Is Itching A Sign Of Skin Cancer
Itchy skin could be a sign of skin cancer if it is accompanied by:
- A new skin growth or lesion
- A change in a mole, such as a spread of pigment beyond the border
- A sore that continually crusts over but doesnt heal
- A rough or scaly skin patch
- A pink, pearly bump that bleeds easily
Because it can be difficult to distinguish between a cancerous and noncancerous skin condition, its important to promptly discuss any new, changing or unusual rashes or moles with a physician.
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In What Ways Can An Itchy Mole Be Treated
If you notice changes to color, size, or shape of any moles, you should have them checked by a doctor. If you have a mole that bleeds, itches, feels tender, or its painful, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Most moles that are itchy, painful, large or have a potential for being cancerous are typically removed.
Skin Cancer Diagnosis Always Requires A Skin Biopsy
When you see a dermatologist because youve found a spot that might be skin cancer, your dermatologist will examine the spot.
If the spot looks like it could be a skin cancer, your dermatologist will remove it all or part of it. This can easily be done during your appointment. The procedure that your dermatologist uses to remove the spot is called a skin biopsy.
Having a skin biopsy is essential. Its the only way to know whether you have skin cancer. Theres no other way to know for sure.
What your dermatologist removes will be looked at under a microscope. The doctor who examines the removed skin will look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, your biopsy report will tell you what type of skin cancer cells were found. When cancer cells arent found, your biopsy report will explain what was seen under the microscope.
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