7 Skin Cancer Symptoms People Should Pay Attention To

Date July 12, 2018

In most cases, signs of skin cancer are pretty obvious. If you notice an unusual mole or a spot that looks like a birthmark, or other defects on your skin that weren’t there before, you need to consult a doctor.

But in very rare cases (about 1 in 100), there are no conspicuous signs of skin cancer on the skin. Instead, the disease manifests in ways you wouldn’t suspect to be skin cancer symptoms. Below is the list of 7 symptoms you have to watch out for:

Lumps under your skin

Lumps under the skin in places like the armpits, groin, and neck (though they may be found in other areas, too) may be a sign of cancer metastases in lymph nodes. Jeremy Davis, MD, a clinical instructor and surgeon at UCLA Health, says:

It’s not common, but there are situations when your immune system takes care of the primary mole or skin lesion even though the cancer itself has metastasized. So the cancer started on your skin, but you never saw it.

If you notice such a lump, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Abdominal pain

Melanoma can also metastasize to the liver. The symptom of metastasis is a pain in “upper right quadrant” of the abdomen, Dr. Davis says. But a whole lot of other medical conditions cause pain in this area, some of which are not very dangerous (e.g. gallstones). But even if the pain isn’t causing much trouble, a visit to a doctor is recommended.

Trouble breathing

Melanoma metastases can also be found in the lungs. They usually manifest in shortness of breath and constant coughing. If you have these symptoms, the chances of them being signs of cancer are very little. The symptoms usually indicate a different condition (e.g. asthma or bronchitis), but they still warrant a medical check-up.

Joint pain

In addition to all those areas mentioned above, your bones may also be affected by melanoma metastases. The symptoms are similar to those of arthritis. If you experience pain in your joints, go to the doctor to get tests.

Vision problems

Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin, a pigment that gives color to our skin, hair, and eyes. Melanoma cancer starts in melanocytes, which means your eyes may be affected first. In such cases, the symptoms are problems with eyesight and “pigments or discolorations in the iris of the eye,” according to Dr. Davis.

Spasms and other abdominal problems

Melanoma can cause problems with the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Davis says: Diarrhea, constipation, cramps, or pain are all possible.”


Although it’s rare, melanoma can start in the brain. The symptoms include headaches, seizures, or cognitive problems. These symptoms can be a sign of both primary brain melanoma (= it started in the brain) or melanoma metastases.

Sources: Prevention, MedicineNet, WebMD

READ ALSO: Which Type Of Skin Cancer Is The Most Dangerous? How It Develops, And How To Lower Your Risk

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.