Five ‘unusual’ symptoms of skin cancer – from night sweats to thickening of the foreskin

When thinking about the symptoms of skin cancer, it’s easy to think of signs like bumps or moles. While these are still warning signs of illness to look out for, there are others that you may not immediately associate with illness. With that in mind, the expert spoke to about what to watch out for.

Nurse oncologist and co-founder of Dermavitality Mark Brown said: “These strange symptoms may indicate skin cancer, other cancers or other diseases.

“More importantly, you should always see your doctor if you experience any sudden symptoms or changes in your body, as early diagnosis can drastically change any prognosis.”


He explained, “Many people are prone to anemia due to their diet or certain medications.

“You should see a doctor if you start experiencing symptoms, as anemia can be easily diagnosed with a simple blood test.

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“Like basal cell carcinoma [the most common form of skin cancer] can sometimes present with symptomatic iron deficiency anemia, evaluation of the problem is important.”


“If you are in good health, loss of breath can signal exercise-induced asthma or other easily treatable conditions,” he said.

“However, it could also be a sign that a tumor is blocking your lungs. While you might not expect skin cancer to spread inward, untreated cancers such as melanoma can spread to the lungs.

“If you lose your breath easily, experience chest pain, or have a sudden cough that doesn’t go away, you should seek a diagnosis.”

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night sweats

Mr Brown said: “While skin cancer rarely causes night sweats, there is growing evidence that hormonal changes and melanoma are linked.

“Every time you experience hormonal changes, there is an increased risk of night sweats as your body is less able to regulate its temperature.

“As a result, night sweats are not only unpleasant, but can often be a sign of some form of underlying disease that requires immediate medical attention.”

extreme fatigue

“Most people with cancer, about 90 percent, will experience fatigue,” Mr. Brown said.

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“The severity of this can range from mild to severe, and symptoms can change throughout the day.

“Because fatigue is a symptom of melanoma, one of the most severe types of skin cancer, it is important to see a doctor.

“However, this is a relatively common symptom of many diseases and the prognosis can be as simple as a vitamin deficiency, so don’t panic.”

Genital changes

He added: “One of the first signs of penile cancer [a cancer which often starts in the skin] these are often skin changes on your penis and the foreskin that covers it.

“This condition is caused by uncontrolled cell growth, with 90 percent of cases being caused by a condition called carcinoma in situ, which is a type of squamous cell carcinoma.

“Although this disease is rare, you should always tell your doctor about any changes in the genital area.”

According to NHS Inform, these chances may include:

  • A growth or ulcer on the penis that does not heal within four weeks.
  • Bleeding from the penis or under the foreskin
  • foul-smelling discharge
  • Thickening of the skin of the penis or foreskin that makes it difficult to retract the foreskin (phimosis)
  • Discoloration of the skin of the penis or foreskin
  • Rash on the penis.

Other symptoms of skin cancer may include:

  • Changing a mole or the appearance of a new mole
  • The appearance of a lump or discolored spot on the skin
  • sudden lumps
  • Marks on the skin
  • Constantly dry or irritated skin.

If you think you may be showing signs of skin cancer, you should contact your GP.

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