What do the early stages of skin cancer look like?
This nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a firm red nodule, a scaly growth that bleeds or develops a crust, or a sore that doesn't heal. It most often occurs on the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma is curable if caught and treated early.
If your melanoma has spread to other areas, you may have:
- Hardened lumps under your skin.
- Swollen or painful lymph nodes.
- Trouble breathing, or a cough that doesn't go away.
- Swelling of your liver (under your lower right ribs) or loss of appetite.
- Bone pain or, less often, broken bones.
- The five- and 10-year survival rates for the various stages of melanoma are based on patients who lived at least five or 10 years after being diagnosed. Factors that could affect survival rates are: new developments in cancer treatment.
- Patients with stage II melanoma have cancer that is 1 to 2 millimeters with ulceration or greater than 2 mm with or without ulceration. Stage II melanoma has spread to the lower part of the inner layer of skin (dermis), but not into the tissue below the dermis or into nearby lymph nodes.
- Cancer is NOT contagious. There is no evidence that close contact or things like sex, kissing, touching, sharing meals, or breathing the same air can spread cancer from one person to another. Cancer cells from one person are generally unable to live in the body of another healthy person.
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths.
- This nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a firm red nodule, a scaly growth that bleeds or develops a crust, or a sore that doesn't heal. It most often occurs on the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma is curable if caught and treated early.
- Stage 0 Melanoma (in situ) In Stage 0 melanoma, the malignant tumor is still confined to the upper layers of the skin (epidermis). This means that the cancer cells are only in the outer layer of the skin and have not grown any deeper.
- This stage involves the spread of melanoma into the lymph nodes and other areas of the body such as the brain, lungs, liver and other organs. Unlike some other aggressive cancers, as it spreads, the cells remain melanoma cells, instead of becoming another type of cancer.
The term metastatic melanoma, or Stage IV melanoma, is used when melanoma cells of any kind (cutaneous, mucosal or ocular) have spread through the lymph nodes to distant sites in the body and/or to the body's organs. The liver, lungs, bones and brain are most often affected by these metastases.
- Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Approximately 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are due to melanomas, which may appear suddenly. They are most frequently found on the areas of the face, neck, arms, upper back and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body.
- It rarely spreads to other parts of the body. This type of skin cancer needs to be treated and has a high cure rate. If left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can become quite large, cause disfigurement, and in rare cases, spread to other parts of the body and cause death.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma. Affecting approximately 800,000 Americans each year, basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. This cancer arises in the basal cells, which are found at the bottom of the epidermis (outer skin layer).
Updated: 28th October 2019