What are lesser-known signs of skin cancer?

When we hear of the signs of skin cancer, we are often looking at the ABCDE’s of melanoma. However, there are less noticeable conditions that may also be cancer. The team at Harris Dermatology of Fort Myers and Naples, FL, can help you identify possible signs of cancer and encourage you to book regular, annual skin cancer screenings to monitor and ensure early detection.

What are some uncommon signs of skin cancer to look for?

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma. This can appear as purplish spots on the skin and can be found in patients with weakened immune systems. It is best known as a rare and aggressive form of cancer that is often avoided in patients taking antiviral medications.
  • Cutaneous horn. This is a hard, cone-shaped growth extending from a skin lesion. It is sometimes confused with a wart but is actually a precancerous AK (actinic keratosis) that may have squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) at its base.
  • Bowen’s disease. This is a scaly or crusted patch on the skin which is usually red, brown, or black. It is an area that does not heal and may start to spread outward. It is a superficial variety of SCC.
  • Subungual melanoma. This is a variety of skin cancer that begins under the nail. It may cause the nail to become discolored, thickened, or deformed. It can be challenging to detect in its early stages and is often overlooked or dismissed as a bruise under the fingernails or toenails.
  • Actinic cheilitis. This is a precancerous condition that affects the lips. It can cause lips to become dry, cracked, and scaly and might be called “farmer’s lips.” Without treatment, it can still evolve into SCC.i

Early detection of skin cancer is critical!

Patients who develop skin cancer but catch it in the earliest stages have a better chance of recovery than an individual who leaves areas of concern unevaluated. At Harris Dermatology, we encourage patients to call our office if they notice anything suspicious that might be skin cancer and come in annually for a skin cancer screening. Our practice has two office locations in Naples and Fort Myers, FL, and open to new patients.


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