Answered: Your top 5 questions about skin cancer

1. Do skin cancers appear suddenly?

Skin cancer can grow quickly over a matter of weeks, but can also be slow-growing over many months or even years. Even the smallest of skin cancers can be potentially deadly and may have already spread to other parts of your body, which can be fatal. If you notice any new spots, you should get them checked by a skin cancer doctor.

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2. Does skin cancer hurt?

Skin cancer doesn't typically hurt, but if certain types of skin cancer (like basal cell carcinoma) grow large enough, they can itch, bleed, or ache.

3. Can skin cancer look like a pimple?

Skin cancer varies in size, shape, colour and texture, and it's possible that your pimple that "just won't go away" is actually skin cancer. Any spots that are new, changing, bothersome, or different from your other spots should be checked by a skin cancer doctor. Learn more about the symptoms of skin cancer.

4. Do skin cancers go away on their own?

Some skin cancers can shrink or even go away on their own over time without any treatment, as the body's immune system is sometimes capable of fighting cancer cells by itself. However, most skin cancers require treatment. Learn more about methods of treating skin cancer.

5. What happens if skin cancer isn't treated?

If left untreated, skin cancer can grow bigger and spread to other parts of the body, and can result in significant scarring, disfigurement or even death. The earlier skin cancer is treated, the better your chances of successful treatment.