What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Mar 03, 2023
What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?
Knowing the warning signs of skin cancer can help you get any treatment you need without delay before the cancer spreads. Learn how to recognize early-stage cancer symptoms, so you can lower your risk for more serious complications.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 9,500 new skin cancer cases are diagnosed every day. In the earliest stages, many types of skin cancer are highly treatable, so it's important that everyone knows how to recognize cancer’s early warning signs.

At Island Aesthetics & Dermatology, our dermatology specialists Kristy Anderson, ARPN and Shannon Tumblin, ARPN offer preventive skin cancer screenings to diagnose abnormalities as early as possible.

Our providers can also treat many types of skin cancer to prevent the disease from spreading elsewhere, so you can recover fully.

What to know about skin cancer

Skin cancer originates in the skin cells and occurs when these cells divide rapidly and abnormally. Common types of skin cancer include:

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma starts in the cells just below the surface of your skin.

This type of cancer affects deeper layers of skin cells in sun-exposed areas. However, you can also develop squamous cell carcinoma in areas that aren’t exposed to UV rays.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma describes cancer that develops in the basal cells that sit beneath the squamous cells and produce new skin cells.

This type of cancer generally affects your face, neck, and other sun-exposed areas due to damage from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. UV rays can trigger cell changes that cause them to divide abnormally.


Melanoma is the most aggressive kind of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce your skin’s color.

Risk factors for skin cancer include spending time in the sun without adequate sunscreen protection, a history of severe sunburns, and a family history of skin cancer.

Identifying early warning signs of skin cancer

Skin cancer symptoms vary from personal to person. However, all types of skin cancer can cause noticeable changes in your skin, including:

  • Atypical moles
  • Bleeding moles
  • Waxy or pearly bumps
  • Scabbing or bleeding sores
  • Black, brown, or flesh-colored lesions

Some skin changes can be hard to recognize on yourself, especially if they occur in areas of your body you can’t easily see. For this reason, you should schedule routine skin checks at Island Aesthetics & Dermatology so our providers can evaluate all areas of your skin for potential skin cancer-related changes.

Screenings are recommended for everyone, including those with existing risk factors for skin cancer. If our providers find suspicious changes, they can remove a sample of your skin (biopsy) for further testing. They can also customize a treatment plan to address skin cancer right away before it can spread.

Treatment options for early-stage skin cancer

Your treatment for early-stage skin cancer depends on the type of cancer you have. Our providers offer several treatment options to remove precancerous or cancerous tissue, including:


Cryotherapy uses freezing technology to destroy cancerous tissue. Over time, the treated tissue dies and falls off.


Some cancerous tissue isn’t treatable with cryotherapy, so our experts can use minimally invasive techniques to surgically remove the abnormal tissue and a portion of the surrounding healthy tissue.

Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery is a specialized technique that involves the removal of cancerous tissue one layer at a time. As they remove each layer, our team checks for cancerous cells under a microscope. The process repeats until all signs of cancer are gone.

We can also refer you to a cancer specialist  for chemotherapy, radiation, and other skin cancer therapies if needed.

Call Island Aesthetics & Dermatology in Coupeville, Washington to schedule a skin cancer screening today or book an appointment online.