How Do You Identify Skin Carcinoma?

To identify skin carcinomas requires a thorough inspection of the skin for the typical shapes and discolorations caused by these cancers, states Cancer.Net. Tests on skin samples from the sites can give a definitive diagnosis of the type and stage of the carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas can appear as a raised red patch, an open sore, a translucent bump or a scar-like waxy area. Squamous cell carcinomas often crust and bleed and look like warts, open sores or scaly patches.

Basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin carcinomas, explains Cancer.Net. Merkel cell carcinoma is another type that is much more rare. Carcinomas are more likely to appear on skin that has received a lot of sun exposure, as well as skin exposed to tanning beds. People who are naturally pale in complexion or sunburn easily are more likely to develop skin cancer. Skin carcinomas are more likely to appear after the age of 50. A weakened immune system also increases the risk for these cancers.

Skin cell carcinomas often grow slowly, and it is rare for them to spread to other parts of the body, according to Cancer.Net. Once they are diagnosed and staged, surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding skin is usually sufficient treatment. Sometimes nearby lymph nodes are removed as well.