GentleCure Blog

Is Skin Cancer Painful?

Doctor and patient discussing treatment options

Does skin cancer hurt? While some patients report zero symptoms of discomfort, others may find skin cancer to be itchy, painful, or tender to the touch. Depending on the exact form of skin cancer and where it develops on the body, your symptoms may vary, but knowing how skin cancer looks and feels is one of the best ways to recognize the early warning signs. 

Does Skin Cancer Hurt?     

The three most common forms of skin cancer — basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma — each come with a different set of physical traits and side effects. One of the early indications of skin cancer is a new development on the skin, whether that be a waxy, scar-like lesion, a small, pimple-sized bump, or a mole that starts to change in size or shape. In many cases, these lesions will be seen before they are felt, appearing without any noticeable discomfort.

As sores continue to grow, they may puss, bleed, or scab over repeatedly. Is skin cancer itchy or painful? It can be, especially if it develops in a more sensitive area of the body, such as the:

  • Eyelid
  • Lip or mouth
  • Hands or under a nail
  • Groin
  • Foot or in between toes 

The more time skin cancer lesions have to grow, the more likely they will become painful. Larger sores may develop a crusty surface that cracks and bleeds, with rough edges that are prone to regular scabbing. Skin cancer is a very slow developing disease, but the earlier it is detected, the better, as deeper lesions have a greater chance of spreading to other parts of the body. 

Is Skin Cancer Tender to the Touch? 

Skin cancer can hurt, particularly when lesions have gone untreated for a significant period of time. Even lesions that don’t puss or bleed can eventually hurt; in fact, moles that become tender to the touch may be dangerous and should be examined by a dermatologist as soon as possible. Melanoma is often recognized as moles that change in size, shape, and color, but becoming painful is another warning sign. 

IG-SRT: the Painless Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Treatment

While skin cancer can sometimes be painful, there is a treatment option that delivers results without cutting or scarring. IG-SRT is the surgery-free alternative to Mohs and is available to non-melanoma skin cancer patients. Learn how it works and talk with your dermatologist to see if this treatment is right for you.