Skin cancer can develop on people of all skin types and tones. It primarily develops on areas of the skin that are exposed to direct sunlight, such as the face, scalp, ears, lips, chest, neck, hands and arms. However, it may also appear on the fingernails or toenails, genital area and palms. When people with darker skin tones develop melanoma, it usually appears on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. There are three common types of skin cancer. It requires a medical diagnosis to determine which type you may have.
Basal cell carcinoma is most commonly seen on places that are exposed to direct sunlight, such as the face and neck. It looks like a waxy or pearly bump or a flat brown or flesh-colored scar. Symptoms may include itching, redness, small bumps, darkening or lightening of the skin and lesions.
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs on the areas of skin that are exposed to the sun such as the ears, hands and face. People with darker skin develop squamous cell carcinoma more often than people with lighter skin. Symptoms may appear as a hard lump, lesion or scaly or crusty patch and there may be a scar or ulcer.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and may develop anywhere on the body. It may appear on an existing mole that changes size and shape and becomes cancerous. Melanoma most often develops on the face or trunk and in women, it may develop on the lower legs. This type of cancer may even occur on skin that has never been exposed to the sun on both men and women. It can people of any skin tone and may occur on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands, as well as under the fingernails or toenails. The most common symptoms are:
• A large brown spot with darker smaller spots
• A mole that bleeds or otherwise changes in size, color or feel
• A small wound with an irregular border with portions that appear blue, white, red or blue-black
• Dark sores on the soles, palms, toes or fingertips
• Dark sores on mucous membrane in the nose, mouth, anus or vagina
Kaposi sarcoma is a rare form of skin cancer that is mainly seen on people with a weakened immune system. The symptoms appear as red or purple patches on the skin or mucous membranes. Merkel cell carcinoma appears as shiny, firm nodules that appear just beneath the surface of the skin. It is often seen on the trunk, neck and head. Sebaceous gland carcinoma is very uncommon and originates in the oil glands in the skin. It often appears on the eyelid and is mistaken for another problem.
To ensure your best overall health, you should undergo regular skin cancer screenings. If you are concerned about a spot, mole or bump on your skin, you can have a consultation with our specialist at Metro Dermatology and have the lesion tested. Only after our expert determines the type of skin cancer can we prescribe a treatment, such as skin cancer surgery. We have offices in Elmhurst, Flushing, Englewood and the Bronx. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.