These Photos Show Some of the Strange Ways Skin Cancer Can Hide


Editor’s note: This post contains graphic pre- and post-operative photos.

When you hear the words “skin cancer,” you may think of sunburns, irregular-shaped moles, tanning beds and fair-skinned people. Although it’s true that all of these things are associated with various types of skin cancers, there’s a lot people underestimate or don’t know when it comes to how deadly and unassuming skin cancer can be.

Sometimes the first signs of skin cancer don’t show up as random moles, but as open sores, red bumps or scars. Cancerous cells don’t always come from daily visits to the tanning salon or beach but build up over time from occasional exposure to the sun. At least that’s often the case when it comes to basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, about eight out of 10 skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas, which develop in layers of the epidermis on sun-exposed areas like the head and neck. Although it’s rare for this cancer to spread to other parts of the body, it can invade surrounding bone or tissues if left untreated.

To help raise awareness, we wanted to show you photos of people diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. From the top of a scalp to the bottom of an elbow, here are some places skin cancer can hide

On Your Shoulder

One warning sign of basal cell carcinoma is an open sore that bleeds and crusts over and just won’t heal, like this one on a shoulder.

On Your Nose

Basal cell carcinomas can also appear as shiny bumps or slightly indented pink growths on the nose.

Above Your Lip

An irritation or scar-like area above the lip can also be a sign of basal cell carcinoma.

On Your Scalp

A hidden mole on the scalp is one of the hardest spots to detect during a self-exam.

Ummmm’d and ahhhhhh’d about posting this coz it ain’t pretty ???? But it’s reality…. my reality…. and if it prompts someone to do a self skin check or go to the Dr then I have achieved some good out of this. Be hyper vigilant about any moles or spots on your body, check your feet, your underarms and feel in your scalp. Apparently this was an extremely large BCC that had been there for a long time but unfortunately missed in last years check when I had another BCC taken from my hairline ???? To say I’m devastated would be an understatement, I have shed tears this morning since taking the bandages off and being faced with this hideous scar. Yeah I guess you could say that it’s just superficial and it doesn’t matter but to me it does ????

A post shared by Nadine (@nadinejade13) on

On Your Forehead

Irritated or red patches on the forehead that crust or itch may also indicate basal cell carcinoma.

Removed more skin cancer #Basalcellcarcinoma I’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer as well. Surgery to remove upper right lobe of my lung #Cancersucks #cancer #alwaysfighting #nevergiveup #Littlewishfoundation

A post shared by Glen (@bigglen70) on

On Your Cheek

One of the more common places compared to the other spots on this list, basal cell carcinoma can appear on your cheek, just below your eye, because of the face’s direct exposure to the sun.

This is extremely hard for me to post but if I can help raise awareness it’s worth it for me. A handful of people know that I had surgery yesterday to remove skin cancer on my face and next week I find out if I have more cancer in other spots. No this does not run in my family, this is what happens when you don’t wear sunscreen and more importantly when you go in tanning beds. Tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer by 75%, it is NOT worth it! This is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, and I do not wish this on anyone. Please be smart and learn from this! Cancer is a scary thing, no matter what kind you have and I hope by posting this that some of you will think twice before tanning or walking outside without sunscreen.

A post shared by Shealun Rose (@shealun_rose) on

Under Your Arms

Although signs of basal cell carcinoma usually appear on sun-exposed areas, it can occur on more hidden areas like under your arms.

Buh bye basal cell! #basalcellcarcinoma #buhbyenow #stitches #betteroffgone #thealternativesucks #fixmeupdoc

A post shared by Holly (@hollyllama1980) on

On Your Chest

A red, irritated spot on your chest that burns is a huge warning sign indicative of basal cell carcinoma.

Have a skin cancer photo you’d like to share? If so, post it in the comments below.


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