You've probably heard a lot of tips and tricks on how to tell if a mole is cancerous and may even know a little about protecting your skin from cancer-causing things like the sun. However, if you are like most people, your basic knowledge of skin cancer will not do much good if you do actually develop skin cancer. This is because skin cancer is not always what people expect it to be. In fact, it is really easy to miss certain signs of skin cancer, which can be really dangerous since early detection is so important. Here are a few reasons why people often miss signs of skin cancer.  

Skin cancer may not show up as a localized issue. 

It is common knowledge that skin cancer can show up as a bump, mole, or other localized condition. However, skin cancer is not always in one specific spot on your body. In fact, it can show up as a skin condition that affects a larger section or area of skin like a more widespread problem. For example, you may have a patch of skin on the back of your neck that is scaly and patchy, but because it is not one small spot, you assume that this is not skin cancer. 

Skin cancer is easily blamed on other health problems. 

Perhaps a rash-like patch of skin develops on your face or you notice a lump on your neck. These issues can be relative to skin cancer, but they can also be easily associated with other problems. For example, a patch of skin that seems itchy and scaly could be blamed on an allergic reaction and a lump under the skin could be suspected as a developing pimple or cyst. 

Skin cancer has no specifically clear-cut set of symptoms that are always the same. 

Skin cancer has a multitude of different symptoms depending on the type and the underlying cause. Therefore, there is no small set of symptoms to be looking for if you believe you may be at risk of skin cancer. For example, skin cancer can show up as 

  • patches or rough, irritated skin
  • brown and scaly patches 
  • lumps that appear to be just under the upper layer of skin
  • protruding mole-like formations

The fact that skin cancer can vary in formation with so many different symptoms makes it harder to self-diagnose even when a medical provider would probably be able to point the issue out right off. 

To learn more, contact a specialist in skin cancer surgery in your area.