Can you get skin cancer on your leg? Yes, skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body, making skin cancer on the legs a real possibility. What does skin cancer on the leg look like? Depending on the exact diagnosis, signs of skin cancer on the leg may differ, which is why it’s always important to be aware of significant changes to your skin’s appearance. In this overview, we’ll look at early-stage leg skin cancer and treatment options.
Signs of Skin Cancer on Your Legs
Skin cancer on the leg is often caused by overexposure to UV rays or sunlight. You can develop skin cancer on the inner thigh, outer thigh, knee, or any other part of the leg that has been exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Tanning or spending time outside without sunscreen or protective clothing can cause significant damage to skin cells, as the radiation in UV rays triggers abnormal development. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and has three different forms:
- Basal cell skin cancer on the leg: The most common form of skin cancer. Develops in the cells found in the lower part of the epidermis.
- Squamous cell skin cancer on the leg: Less common than basal cell, but has more of a proclivity to spread to other parts of the body. Develops in the flat cells in the upper or outer part of the epidermis.
- Melanoma on the leg: Less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. Develops in melanocytes, which are the skin’s pigment-making cells.
Each of these types of skin cancer comes with different physical characteristics. Signs of skin cancer on the leg may include:
- Dry, scaly patches that are reddish or pink in color
- Small, raised bumps that can range from pearly translucent to red
- Growths with raised edges
- Open sores that refuse to heal and may either bleed or puss
- Dark spots with uneven borders
Use the ABCDEs
At home, you can complete a self-exam using the ABCDEs of skin cancer. The ABCDEs can help you identify and keep tabs on new or changing marks or growths on your body. The ABCDEs of skin cancer stand for the following:
- Asymmetry: Common moles are typically symmetrical in shape, while skin cancer is usually asymmetrical.
- Border: Skin cancer areas usually don’t have clear or well-defined borders.
- Color: The color of a benign, regular mole is usually uniform. Dark spots and inconsistent coloration can be a sign of skin cancer.
- Diameter: If a mark or growth on your leg has grown to the width of a pencil eraser (about six millimeters) or more, have it examined by a dermatologist.
- Evolving: Any area of your skin that’s currently changing in size, shape, and color should be monitored. When you complete a self-exam, note any changes that you see.
Early-Stage Leg Skin Cancer
While skin cancer is most frequently found on the upper body, including the head, neck, face, and arms, skin cancer on the leg is possible as well. The best way to ward off early-stage leg skin cancer is to schedule annual skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist. This yearly examination will help keep track of any major changes to your skin and will allow you to be proactive in your skin’s health.
Treatment for Skin Cancer on the Legs
If you’ve received a leg skin cancer diagnosis, you do have treatment options. The first treatment method is known as Mohs surgery, where the cancerous cells are cut out of the leg using a scalpel. This method is effective though it does require healing time and potential plastic surgery to deal with scars.
Another treatment for skin cancer on the leg is Image-Guided Superficial Radiotherapy (Image-Guided SRT). This method uses radiation to break up the affected cells, helping patients avoid surgery while still delivering effective treatment.
Consider GentleCure to Treat Skin Cancer on Your Legs
Now that you know what skin cancer on the leg looks like, continue your knowledge journey by discovering GentleCure™ and how it works. This painless, surgery-free alternative to Mohs has been adopted by dermatology practices across the country and could be a beneficial option for you.