~~Skin cancer doesn’t always announce itself with the sudden appearance of a big, black weird-looking mole. An itch that doesn’t go away or a feeling of tenderness in a lesion might be red flags for certain kinds of skin cancer, found a study from the Temple University School of Medicine.
The researchers found that itching and pain were frequent complaints in squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas, the two most common forms of skin cancers. Pain in particular was especially associated with squamous cell—over 40 percent of patients reported their lesion hurt, nearly twice the rate of basal cell.
“Squamous cell tends to be a bit deeper in the skin,” says study author Gil Yosipovitch, M.D. “When you have deeper processes in the skin, they are more associated with the activation of pain fibers rather than itch fibers.”
Make an appointment pronto with your doctor if you feel pain or soreness in a growth, or a persistent itch that lasts six weeks or more—and be sure to stress those symptoms to him, says Dr. Yosipovitch. This can help your doc prioritize which lesions should be biopsied first if you have several that look suspicious.