Basal Cell Carcinoma
As the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is also the number one type of cancer globally. According to the American Cancer Society, roughly eight out of ten skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma. Fortunately, this cancer grows slowly and is completely treatable. “Unfortunately, basal cell carcinoma is easy to ignore because a lot of times people think the spot is a pimple or blemish that won’t heal,” said Dr. George. The distinctive tip-offs are the lesions, as they are pearly or shiny bumps or spots. They can pop up anywhere but often appear on the face, neck, and ears. These lesions tend to form scabs or sores, be scaling and flaky, or bleed easily over time.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
As the second most common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma is similar to basal cell carcinoma in that it tends to present itself as a pink bump or patch that won’t go away, explained Dr. George. There are certain cases in which squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body, but it is easy to treat when diagnosed early. Squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a flat patch or can become larger and nodular with pink to red tones, according to Dr. Rossi. They can also feel rough and have a wart-like surface or be scaling, bleeding, itchy, and painful.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
While considered to be rare, this cancer is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer, as it can grow and spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Merkel cell carcinoma tends to be small in size, painless, and usually in a red, purple, or pink color. It can also feel firm and may be shiny. The lesions typically occur on the face, neck, or arms, but they can grow anywhere on the body and grow very quickly.Related: 11 Signs of Melanoma Skin Cancer
It may be difficult to spot these lesions on your own, and it is highly recommended that when in doubt you visit your physician. However, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on moles and use proper sun protection at all times.