Marmur Medical Blog

Skin Cancer: What to Look For

Before reaching age 70, one in five Americans will receive a skin cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, most skin cancers – including melanoma – have a high survival rate with early detection and treatment. Give yourself the best chances for a positive outcome by learning the early warning signs and symptoms, so you can request help when you need it.

At Marmur Medical, we know expert dermatological care can change our patients’ lives. We implore you to schedule your annual skin check exam today.

What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is by far the most prevalent type of cancer, but it’s also among the most treatable. Finding it early makes it easier to address before it has an opportunity to spread. While there are many possible warning signs, these five symptoms are the most common reasons people seek care. If you experience any of the following changes, be sure to see your doctor.


Moles are the key to spotting melanoma early. Check your moles monthly using the ABCDE method to ensure you’re doing everything you can for early detection.

  • Asymmetry: The two halves of the mole don’t match.
  • Border: Poorly defined or irregular borders
  • Color: Color variation from one area of the mole to another
  • Diameter: Melanomas are typically larger than a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving: The mole experiences noticeable size, shape, or color changes

Itchy, Red Skin Patches

Unfortunately, everyone gets rashes occasionally from things like poison ivy, poison oak, contact dermatitis, or even sensitive skin. A rash itself isn’t necessarily a sign of cancer. However, basal cell carcinomas often present as a raised, reddish patch of skin that doesn’t go away.

With basal cell carcinomas, you may also find:

  • Flat, yellow patches
  • Shiny, pearly bumps that may be a multicolored blend of pink, brown, blue, or black
  • Pink growths with raised edges
  • Open sores that aren’t healing

Lumps and Bumps

While Merkel cell carcinoma can start anywhere on the body, the tumors often appear as firm, pink, red, or purple lumps or bumps on the skin. Typically, these tumors aren’t always painful; however, they’re fast-growing and can become ulcers or sores, developing into one of the more dangerous types of skin cancer.


Lesions come in many forms – flat, slightly raised, or even large enough to be a bump. They may be red, purple, or brown. However, any lesion that develops on the legs or face may be a sign of cancer, especially Kaposi sarcoma.

While these lesions first appear as spots on the skin, they aren’t typically painful or itchy, so people often put off having them checked.

Any Unexpected Changes

While change is inevitable in our world, always be leery when it comes to any unexpected variations to your skin. Watch for any:

  • New growths
  • Texture changes
  • Discoloration
  • Swelling

While these warning signs may seem innocuous, all these plus others could be early warnings that you shouldn’t ignore. Many skin cancers do not cause obvious pain, so don’t put off your annual skin check.

Is a Skin Cancer Screening Right for You?

We cannot overemphasize the importance of annual skin checks. Our dermatologists at Marmur Medical recommend a yearly exam at every age, starting in childhood.

During your skin cancer screening, we’ll thoroughly examine your skin – head to toe, back and front, from your scalp to the soles of your feet. If we spot anything out of the ordinary, we’ll thoroughly evaluate it.

However, these screenings are only part of your skin cancer check. We strongly recommend that you also see a dentist, an ophthalmologist, and, for women, a gynecologist once per year to have other areas checked.

Marmur Medical – Your Skin Cancer Experts in NYC

Dr. Ellen Marmur, Dr. Rachel Westbay, Dr. Hysem Eldik, Jennifer Weiss, PA, Lena Ladenheim, RN, and Ally Konci, CME strive to provide state-of-the-art skin care and cancer screening. If it’s been a while since your last skin check, it’s time to schedule your appointment with the experts at Marmur Medical, New York City’s premier dermatology practice!

Learn more about our skin cancer screening providers by contacting Marmur Medical online today!