7 Alarming Skin Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t Visible To The Naked Eye

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Every time I go to the doctor, I’m reminded to always wear sunscreen in order to prevent skin cancer. They also remind me to learn the symptoms of skin cancer so that I know what to look for on my body.

Typically, doctors tell people to learn the ABCs of skin cancer.

‘A’ stands for asymmetry; normal moles are symmetrical in shape, but cancerous moles will look blotchier and much less even.

‘B’ stands for border; noncancerous moles have smooth, well-defined borders, but cancerous moles are weird shapes and may fade into the skin.

‘C’ stands for color; regular moles are one color throughout, but cancerous moles may be different colors.

‘D’ stands for diameter; most moles are less than 6mm in diameter, but cancerous moles may change size and grow larger than 6mm.

‘E’ stands for evolution; benign moles don’t change over time, but cancerous lesions may change shape, color, or size.

Unfortunately, in addition to these, there are also invisible skin cancer symptoms you should know about.

Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / James Heilman, MD

What Is Skin Cancer?

what is skin cancer
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According to the US National Library of Medicine: “Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is more dangerous but less common.”

Invisible Signs Of Skin Cancer
#1: Itchiness

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One of the warning signs of skin cancer is a change in sensation on or under the skin.

Itchiness is one possible sign of skin cancer, so if you’re constantly itchy in one spot and there’s no explanation, don’t ignore it.

#2: Lumps And Bumps

lumps and bumps
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According to the Mayo Clinic, one possible sign of cancer is a “Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin.”

Make sure to check for lumps and bumps on your neck, groin, and armpits — they may indicate that skin cancer has spread to your lymph nodes.

#3: Unexplained Joint Pain

unexplained joint pain
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Another possible sign of skin cancer is persistent joint or muscle pain.

Melanoma may spread to your bones, which can cause arthritis-like joint pain.

#4: Numbness

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If skin cancer has moved to your nerves, you may experience numbness.

You should never ignore numbness in any part of your body, so tell your doctor and keep track of other symptoms.

#5: Abdominal Pain

abdominal pain
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Unfortunately, melanoma can also spread to other body parts, including your liver.

If the cancer spreads to your liver, it can cause pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen.

Of course, abdominal pain is pretty normal, so don’t freak out; just try to keep track of whether it’s accompanied by any other symptoms.

#6: Trouble Breathing

trouble breathing
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As cancer spreads throughout the body, it may cause some surprising symptoms.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you may notice that you have difficulty breathing, a persistent cough, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing.

#7: Blurred Vision

blurred vision
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Melanoma affects melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells in the skin.

Melanocytes can also be found in the eyes, so if you develop cancer in your eye cells, it can cause blurry vision.

What To Do

what to do
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If you notice the above symptoms, especially if you have more than one of these symptoms, you should see your doctor.

Please SHARE this article with your friends to spread awareness about skin cancer!