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.
This is just a reminder for all people to wear your sunscreen every day! As you can see my shoulder turned from a biopsy to stitches because it turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. It could have been worse. #skincancer #spf #sunscreen #basalcellcarcinoma #melanoma #stitches #spfclothing #hats #lips #bodycheck #ears #feet #sunprotection
On Your Nose
Basal cell carcinomas can also appear as shiny bumps or slightly indented pink growths on the nose.
*warning* a bit graphic if you’re a person who has a weak stomach. This is basal cell carcinoma on my nose aka skin cancer. Typically seen in those who are 40 years + as a result of sun exposure/damage. I’m an outlier, I am 26. However I am very pale. I never was a sun worshiper and I thought I did a decent job at wearing a hat and sunscreen. What I forgot about was that daily moisturizer with Spf in it. So I just wanna use myself as an example for young people to remember it is real and it happens and it sucks. I’ll wear this scar forever. Luckily, the MOHs procedure I had only required one layer to be removed #basalcellcarcinoma #skincancer #protectyourskin #dermatology
Here you can see my spot before treatment and again at 30 HOURS after First Application of 1:1 RSO Oil. Please everyone keep the future of this possibility alive and let’s see if it is a success! So blessed for all the love and support. #rso #ricksimpsonoil #ricksimpson #cancer #curecancer #basalcellcarcinoma #regeneration #hopeful #blessings #energy #cure #miracleoil #oil #miracles #miraclesnow #hope #faith #miraclecure #letssee #love #cancerisjustaword #lessons #vehiclesforchange
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 ????
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
4 weeks of healing since having skin cancer removed. Healing well!!! Very pleased with it. Get your skin checked, dear friends. Don’t wait, make your dermatology appointment now. #skincancer #skincancersucks #basalcellcarcinoma #mohssurgery #mohs #fucancer #scar #face #cancersurvivor #cancer #psa #todayimbrave
Skin cancer one year later. My surgeon is phenomenal. No, this wasn’t the first time, this was time #11. #skincancer #vanityisnoexcuse #basalcellcarcinoma #oneyearlater #getchecked #drchristopherkruse
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.
Third surgery to fix my #skincancer this is to fix the hackjob The 2nd guy did. #plasticsurgery #mohs #eyelift This one is done by one of the best #plasticsurgeon in #newjersey #doctor Don’t mess with #basalcellcarcinoma or the sun. It’s not worth it. Take it from someone with 30 years of tanning with no SPF
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.
I’m here to tell ya…having a tan is not worth this. I was diagnosed w basal cell carcinoma about a month ago and I had Mohs surgery on Monday. To say I was shocked when I removed the bandage and saw this huge incision is an understatement. I’m angry that I did this to myself. Spray tans weren’t around when I was younger and started tanning in tanning beds. I wish I could go back in time but I can’t. All I can do is warn others of the dangers of tanning and to pay attention to your body and skin. #skincancersucks #wasthetanworthit? #myfacesaysitall #saynototanningbeds #wearsunscreen #basalcellcarcinoma #mohs #liveandlearn #skincancer #fourinchestoremoveonesmallspot
On Your Chest
A red, irritated spot on your chest that burns is a huge warning sign indicative of basal cell carcinoma.
Its nasty and burns. But, sometimes you just have to find some positives and get over it. So here are 3 positives of this: 1. It’s a slow growing skin cancer and is not killing me 2. It’s not as bad as taking blood thinner shots ???? 3. I learned my lesson about soaking up the sunshine and the importance of sunscreen and umbrellas What’s bothering you right now? I encourage you to think of the positives from it! #changeyourthoughts #mindset #mindsetshift #positive #wearsunscreen #basalcellcarcinoma #skincancer #skincancerat30 #prevention #reallife #enjoylife #paleisthenewtan
Have a skin cancer photo you’d like to share? If so, post it in the comments below.