Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Prevention and early diagnosis play critical roles in the fight against skin cancer, regardless of the type a person develops.

Here’s the good news: Skin cancer can be detected early. By knowing your skin and watching for changes, skin cancer is easily caught and diagnosed. A bump that appears, a spot that bleeds, a mole that changes, a scaling red spot, or an area that is sore to the touch – all of these lesions are indicators of skin cancer and should be brought to the attention of your dermatologist. If you see a bump that looks suspicious, make an appointment at one of our Minneapolis-area offices today.



Skin Cancer Causes

Skin cancer has many causes, but most have to do with a history of sunburn and exposure to sun as a child. Individuals with fair skin, light eyes, and freckles are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer, as are those who have more than the average number of moles. A family history of this form of cancer also increases a person’s risk of developing a melanoma or carcinoma.

Individuals with chronic, repeated, or prolonged sun exposure, such as those who reside in warmer climates, work outdoors, or frequently engage in outdoor activities, as well as those who use tanning booths, are also at a greater risk of developing skin cancer.


Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin cancer is treatable when detected early and has a high cure rate. Seek medical attention when suspicious lesions appear or a change in a mole is detected. A total body exam is suggested annually and more frequently in individuals at high risk or with a history of skin cancer. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the skin cancer, which may include but is not limited to, freezing, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.


Symptoms and Types of Skin Cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer, and each has different symptoms. Below, we’ve provided brief descriptions of these cancers and how they may manifest.

Basel Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. This is also the most treatable, as it rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Basal Cell Carcinoma may look like:

  • A dome shaped papule, shiny like a pearl, pink or skin colored, with or without a small red blood vessel.
  • An “acne like” lesion that never goes away.
  • A red scaling red patch.
  • A lesion that bleeds easily.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and may appear as:

  • Hard, red lump with or without a crusty surface.
  • A red scaling patch.
  • A lesion that bleeds easily.
  • A hard crusted “horn” that grows very rapidly. 


Melanoma is the rarest but most serious type of skin cancer. It can metastasize easily, which means early detection and treatment are essential. Melanoma may appear as:

  • Pigment that appears suddenly, grows quickly, or does not look like other moles.
  • A mole that changes size, borders, or grows asymmetrically.
  • A mole that has varied colors, such as brown, black, pink, red, or blue.
  • A mole that bleeds or becomes elevated while turning dark.
  • A streak in the fingernail or toenail.

When to See a Dermatologist for Skin Cancer

As you’ve likely noticed, many of the symptoms listed above can explain a variety of skin phenomena, and many of the visible symptoms overlap between the forms of skin cancer. If you suspect a new growth to be skin cancer, make an appointment with us as soon as possible. We can provide a total body exam to check every surface for signs of cancer. While skin cancer is very common, it is also easily treated when caught early. Contact Us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.