Pre-Cancers & Skin Cancers

Pre-Cancers & Skin Cancers

Skin cancer in all its forms is the leading form of cancer in the United States, affecting men and women of all ages, nationalities and skin types. Though those who live at higher elevations and spend lots of time outdoors without effective, regular skin protection are most in danger of developing skin cancer, many others are surprised to find that they are developing dangerous growths as well.

Knowing what warning signs to look for in pre-cancerous moles and other growths as well as in possible cancerous growths can save your life. For St. Louis cancer care when it comes to skin cancer, you’ll want to make an appointment with your St. Louis dermatologist should you notice any of the following:

Man who has been diagnosed by a highly rated St. Louis dermatologist.Woman who came in to see a St. Louis dermatologist at the St. Louis laser Liposuction Center.


Actinic Keratosis: These are small, scaly patches of skin that are caused by too much sun and they often occur on the hands, neck or head though they can be found elsewhere. They are often early warning signs of possible skin cancer in the making. If you find these scaly, dry patches of skin, it’s something to show your dermatologist.

Pre-Cancer Observed by a St. Louis DermatologistWhat Actinic Keratosis looks like on a microscopic level.

Close View of Actinic Keratosis*     Actinic Keratosis Under the Microscope

Actinic Cheilitis: This condition makes itself known on the lower lip in the form of rough, swollen, scaly skin. There’s usually a distinct border between the affected skin and the rest of the lip.

Close-up shot of the effects of Actinic Cheilitis on this woman's lips.

Cutaneous Horns: These funnel-shaped growths usually extend from a patch of reddened skin and are rough to the touch. Made up of the same protein found in fingernails, they are usually just a few millimeters in length but often contain squamous cell carcinoma in the base. These should be checked out by your dermatologist.

Skin Cancers

Individuals should not try to diagnose skin cancer themselves, but should instead seek the expertise of a St. Louis dermatologist who is experienced in providing skin cancer screenings and treating skin cancer. One of the main things to look out for are irregular moles that are asymmetrical in shape, that change color or are more than one color at once, moles that have irregular, rough borders or are quite large in size. Moles that itch or bleed or have changed in appearance over time should definitely be checked out.

Of course moles aren’t the only areas of the skin where skin cancer may be hiding. If you have any suspicious areas of skin that don’t heal, itch frequently, are always flaking or seem questionable in any way, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright – your St. Louis Dermatologist – to get diagnosed and treated before any potential cancer spreads. And don’t forget our other incredible cosmetic surgery procedures offered here at the St. Louis Liposuction Center!

*By Future FamDoc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons