Rashes & Other Types Of Cancer
Less commonly, a rash may be caused by a type of cancer other than skin cancer, such as:
- Leukemia A blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow, leukemia is caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells, which impair the bodys ability to produce red blood cells and platelets. A low platelet count can lead to easy bruising and bleeding, and broken capillaries under the skin can cause tiny red spots to form on the skins surface that resemble a rash.
- Mycosis fungoides A type of cutaneous T cell lymphoma, mycosis fungoides occurs when certain white blood cells undergo cancerous changes that cause them to attack the skin. The early signs include itchy, rash-like skin patches, which may form sores and tumors as the cancer progresses.
- Sézary syndrome A leukemic variant of mycosis fungoides, Sézary syndrome causes an extensive, itchy red rash over at least 80% of the body.
- Kaposi sarcoma A type of cancer that develops in the cells that line lymphatic and blood vessels, Kaposi sarcoma can cause deep red, purple, or brown lesions to form on the skins surface.
When Is A Mole A Problem
A mole is a benign growth of melanocytes, cells that gives skin its color. Although very few moles become cancer, abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma over time. “Normal” moles can appear flat or raised or may begin flat and become raised over time. The surface is typically smooth. Moles that may have changed into skin cancer are often irregularly shaped, contain many colors, and are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Most moles develop in youth or young adulthood. It’s unusual to acquire a mole in the adult years.
Heat Rash Vs Sun Rash
Having red spots on your skin that itch or burn after you’ve been outside can be caused by the sun or by the heat. While heat rash is caused by high temperatures and sweat, a sun rash is more like getting a sunburn.
Heat rash usually gets better on its own in a few days. However, if the skin is injured, it can lead to a secondary infection. In severe cases, oral or topical antibiotics are needed to relieve pain and clear up the infection.
Call your healthcare provider if you notice any signs of infection, including a whitish coloring over the heat rash, flaking skin, or a pus-like discharge.
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Can Rashes Be A Sign Of Cancer
Occasionally, bumps or redness on your skin can be a sign of cancer.
For example, if you notice an itchy mole on your chest that seems to be changing shape, theres a chance youre dealing with skin cancer.
Because cancer can be very serious even life threatening its important to know the difference between a rash caused by irritation and one caused by skin cancer.
This is why its important to talk with a dermatologist about any rash or growth thats new, changing, or not going away.
While skin cancers are often asymptomatic, meaning they dont show symptoms, they can be itchy.
For instance, basal cell skin cancer as a raised reddish patch that itches, and melanoma can take the form of itchy dark spots or moles.
Talk with your doctor about any itchy, crusty, scabbed, or bleeding sore thats not healing.
of skin cancer is a change in your skin, such as a:
- new growth
- sore thats not healing
- mole thats changing color or shape
Melanoma is a less common but more dangerous form of skin cancer because it can spread easily if not treated. One of the best ways to get a handle on its symptoms is to think of A-B-C-D-E.
If any of these apply to a mark on your skin, its important to talk with a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Actinic cheilitis looks like scaly bumps and sores on your lower lip. Your lip might also be swollen and red.
Actinic cheilitis can turn into squamous cell cancer if you dont have the bumps removed.
Explore Your Treatment Options In Advance
When it comes to treating skin cancer, especially on the face, many patients worry about the invasiveness of common procedures like Mohs surgery, which could leave a scar. Fortunately, there are other, less invasive treatment methods to consider. Knowing your options ahead of time will help you to feel better prepared to make a decision. Image Guided Superficial Radiotherapy is a non-invasive alternative for treating non-melanoma skin cancers like Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma. If you would like to learn more about how IG-SRT works, please call GentleCure at 312-987-6543 to speak with a skin cancer information specialist.
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer impacts the lives of 4 million Americans each year. GentleCure is committed to raising awareness of IG-SRT and is a trademark owned by SkinCure Oncology, LLC.
The information on this website is provided without any representations or warranties. You should not rely on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. The information on this site, as well as any information provided by the skin cancer information specialists on our educational hotline, is intended to help you make a better-informed treatment decision in conjunction with trained and licensed medical professionals.
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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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Causes And Types Of Raised Skin Bumps
The most common causes of raised skin bumps are harmless and do not require medical treatment unless you have discomfort. Here are some of the possible reasons for raised skin bumps:
Less commonly, raised skin bumps are caused by more serious conditions that require treatment. Certain bacterial and viral infections cause bumps and will only get worse if they go undiagnosed and untreated. These serious conditions include:
- chickenpox, a common childhood virus characterized by red, itchy bumps that form all over the body
- impetigo, a bacterial skin infection common in young children that is highly contagious and results in reddish blisters that ooze and develop a honey-colored crust
- MRSA infection, an illness triggered by a staph bacteria that commonly lives on the skin, causing a swollen, painful bump with a white center
- scabies, a skin infestation caused by a tiny mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, producing an itchy, pimple-like rash
Other types of raised skin bumps can be caused by skin cancer. There are several types of skin cancer, all requiring medical management and treatment:
Most skin bumps are harmless and arent cause for concern. However, you should see your doctor if:
- skin bumps change or worsen in appearance, or last for a long time
- you are in pain or they cause discomfort
- you dont know the cause of the bumps
- you suspect you have an infection or skin cancer
The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you dont already have a doctor.
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How Do People Find Bcc On Their Skin
Many people find it when they notice a spot, lump, or scaly patch on their skin that is growing or feels different from the rest of their skin. If you notice any spot on your skin that is growing, bleeding, or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist. These doctors have the most training and experience in diagnosing skin cancer.
To find skin cancer early, dermatologists recommend that everyone check their own skin with a skin self-exam. This is especially important for people who have a higher risk of developing BCC. Youll find out what can increase your risk of getting this skin cancer at, Basal cell carcinoma: Who gets and causes.
Images used with permission of:
The American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 80:303-17.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Other Types Of Skin Cancer
While “the big three” are the most common types of skin cancer, they’re not the only ones you should be aware of.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
“After ‘the big three,’ the next skin cancer you think about is Merkel cell carcinoma,”Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and a spokesperson for the Skin Cancer Foundation, tells Allure. While it’s pretty uncommon about 40 times rarer than melanoma Dr. Day says it’s deadlier. Merkel cell carcinoma kills one in three patients , according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
This type of cancer is incredibly hard to spot, which explains why it’s so deadly. “Merkel cell can be tricky to diagnose because it doesn’t always present the same way it can look like a cyst or just a little red bump, and it can occur anywhere on the body,” says Dr. Day. “This is one of the reasons why it’s super important to see a board-certified dermatologist for skin checks.”
Merkel cell carcinomas typically don’t occur in people under 50, but recent data suggests that could change. As we previously reported, rates of Merkel cell are estimated to be rising six times faster than other types of skin cancer something seriously concerning to dermatologists, given how aggressive this type of cancer can be. “If a Merkel cell is not treated, it’s certainly deadlier than a melanoma,” says Dr. McNeill.
What about other types of cancer that aren’t skin-related?
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Basal Cell Carcinoma Warning Signs
Basal cell carcinoma typically develops on parts of your body exposed to sunlight but also occasionally occurs in other places.
According to the , warning signs often include:
- an open sore that either doesnt heal or heals and returns
- a lesion that spontaneously bleeds without being picked at or manipulated
- a pink growth with raised edges and a depressed center, sometimes with atypical blood vessels that resemble the spokes of a wheels
- a small pink or red bump thats shiny, pearly, or translucent and may have areas that are black, blue, or brown
- a raised red patch that itches
- a flat and firm area that resembles a pale or yellow scar
Medical Treatment For Skin Cancer
Surgical removal is the mainstay of therapy for both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. For more information, see Surgery.
People who cannot undergo surgery may be treated by external radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is the use of a small beam of radiation targeted at the skin lesion. The radiation kills the abnormal cells and destroys the lesion. Radiation therapy can cause irritation or burning of the surrounding normal skin. It can also cause fatigue. These side effects are temporary. In addition, a topical cream has recently been approved for the treatment of certain low-risk nonmelanoma skin cancers.
In advanced cases, immune therapies, vaccines, or chemotherapy may be used. These treatments are typically offered as clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies of new therapies to see if they can be tolerated and work better than existing therapies.
Ultraviolet light exposure, most commonly from sunlight, is overwhelmingly the most frequent cause of skin cancer.
Other important causes of skin cancer include the following:
The following people are at the greatest risk:
A basal cell carcinoma usually looks like a raised, smooth, pearly bump on the sun-exposed skin of the head, neck, or shoulders.
A squamous cell carcinoma is commonly a well-defined, red, scaling, thickened patch on sun-exposed skin.
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Melanomas That Could Be Mistaken For A Common Skin Problem
Melanoma that looks like a bruise
Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin, including the bottom of the foot, where it can look like a bruise as shown here.
Melanoma that looks like a cyst
This reddish nodule looks a lot like a cyst, but testing proved that it was a melanoma.
In people of African descent, melanoma tends to develop on the palm, bottom of the foot, or under or around a nail.
Did you spot the asymmetry, uneven border, varied color, and diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser?
Dark line beneath a nail
Melanoma can develop under a fingernail or toenail, looking like a brown line as shown here.
While this line is thin, some are much thicker. The lines can also be much darker.
Where Are Nodular Melanoma Growths Found
The most common growth sites for nodular melanoma are the neck, head, and trunk of the body. Unlike some other types of skin cancer, nodular melanomas typically begin as a new growth, rather than developing within a preexisting mole.
It can take as little as 3 months for this type of cancer to spread internally. Nodular melanoma can quickly progress to an advanced stage. Advanced stages of nodular melanoma are more difficult to treat than earlier stages of the disease.
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How Is Scalp Cancer Diagnosed
You might go to your doctor if you notice a suspicious spot on your scalp, or a doctor might notice it during a skin check. No matter how the spot is found, skin cancer diagnosis will happen roughly the same way.
First, your doctor will likely ask you about previous skin issues and your family history of cancer. They will also ask about your habits, such as:
- how much time you spend in the sun
- how many sunburns you have had in your life
- if you use protection in the sun, such as sunscreen and protective clothing
- if you use tanning beds
If you noticed the lesion, your doctor may ask if youve noticed any changes over time or if its a new growth.
Then your doctor will do a skin exam to look more closely at the lesion and determine if you need further testing. Theyll look at its size, color, shape, and other features.
If your doctor thinks it might be skin cancer on your scalp, theyll take a biopsy, or small sample, of the growth for testing. This testing can tell your doctor if you have cancer, and if you do, what type.
A biopsy may completely remove a small cancerous growth, especially basal cell carcinoma. But this isnt the main purpose of the test.
If a cancer other than basal cell carcinoma is found, your doctor might recommend more testing to see if it has spread. If the spot is melanoma, your doctor may request imaging tests of lymph nodes in your head and neck depending on the depth of the melanoma.
Types Of Skin Cancer And Their Symptoms
Skin cancer is divided into different categories depending on what type of cells are affected. Each type of skin cancer comes with its own warning signs.
The most common types of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer, affecting close to
- of skin cancers but causes most skin cancer deaths.
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Normal Vs Abnormal Spots What To Look For
While all types of skin cancer may resemble benign skin lesions, there are some warning signs that will help you determine whether or not you should be concerned. According to Dr. Wofford, The key is to pay attention and check your skin consistently. Early detection is important, and the best way to ensure you catch skin cancer in the earliest stages is to perform regular skin exams at home. If you check your skin every month, youll be more likely to notice changes.
During your skin health self-exams at home, you should carefully look at all areas of your skin, including the scalp, fingernail and toenail beds, and other difficult to see areas. As you examine your skin, take special note of any spots that have the following characteristics of skin cancer. These warning signs are what a dermatologist will typically refer to as the ABCDEs:
How Can You Prevent Nodular Melanoma
Nodular melanoma can happen to anyone, but taking certain precautions may help lower your risk of this type of cancer:
- Use sunscreen. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun-protective factor of 30 or higher whenever youre outside, even in the winter.
- Reapply sunscreen often. Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours, especially if youre swimming or sweating.
- Protect your lips. Protect your lips with SPF lip products.
- Stay out of the sun. Avoid direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. Seek shade and protection from the sun when possible.
- Cover your skin. Wear sun-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts, and long pants when outside to protect your skin from the suns harmful UV rays.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds and indoor tanning booths are also dangerous sources of UV radiation. Its best to avoid them.
than other types of melanoma. It becomes more difficult to treat once it has spread beyond the initial area where it developed.
According to research, the 5-year survival rate for nodular melanoma is 51.67 percent . However, statistics show that if any type of melanoma is found, diagnosed, and treated before it begins to spread, the 5-year survival rate is much higher, between 95 and 100 percent.
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