How quickly do skin cancers develop?

Can skin cancer appear suddenly?

While some skin cancer lesions appear suddenly, others grow slowly over time. For example, the crusty, pre-cancerous spots associated with actinic keratoses can take years to develop. Other forms of skin cancer, like melanoma, can appear very suddenly, while at other times, the lesions can vanish and reappear.

Is Skin Cancer slow to develop?

These cancers start in the basal cell layer, which is the lower part of the epidermis. These cancers usually develop on sun-exposed areas, especially the face, head, and neck. They tend to grow slowly.

Can melanoma appear overnight?

Melanomas may appear suddenly and without warning. They are found most frequently on the face and neck, upper back and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body.

How long can you have skin cancer without knowing?

For example, certain types of skin cancer can be diagnosed initially just by visual inspection — though a biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. But other cancers can form and grow undetected for 10 years or more , as one study found, making diagnosis and treatment that much more difficult.

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What kind of skin cancer grows quickly?

Merkel cell carcinoma tends to grow fast and to spread quickly to other parts of your body. Treatment options for Merkel cell carcinoma often depend on whether the cancer has spread beyond the skin.

How often should you check your body for signs of potential skin cancer?

Although the American Cancer Society does not have guidelines for the early detection of skin cancer, many doctors recommend checking your own skin regularly, typically once a month.

How fast does basal skin cancer spread?

The tumors enlarge very slowly, sometimes so slowly that they go unnoticed as new growths. However, the growth rate varies greatly from tumor to tumor, with some growing as much as ½ inch (about 1 centimeter) in a year. Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?

Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.

Does melanoma appear suddenly?

Melanoma may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop from or near an existing mole. It can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head, and neck.

Can actinic keratosis appear suddenly?

The skin can suddenly feel smooth. Many AKs re-appear in a few days to a few weeks. They often re-appear when the person goes outdoors without sun protection. Even if an AK does not re-appear, you should see your dermatologist.

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