Skin Cancer of the Upper Extremities

The skin the largest organ (by surface area) of the body; therefore, it’s the most common part of the body in which cancer develops. The upper extremities face excessive sun exposure through outside activities, traveling in a car, or sitting near windows inside of a building or home. Therefore, the upper extremities are one of the highest risks body parts for malignancies. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)


  • Small, firm nodules brown or tan in color that may scale, bleed, or form crusting
  • The appearance of a cutaneous horn
  • A cut or wound that won’t heal
  • Large, mushroom like growths. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is most common in areas of the body faced with significant levels of ultraviolent exposures. Individuals with light or fair skin or with certain medical conditions are at a higher risk of SCC.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)


  • Small, well-defined pearly, translucent nodules.
  • Chronic sore that won’t heal or go away

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) makes up approximately 80% of skin cancers, according to the Journal of Hand Surgery. BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and is also a result of ultraviolet exposure. BCC is not as common among the upper extremities; however, higher levels of exposure increase your chances of developing this type of cancer. 



  • A mole or birthmark that grows, changes colors and shapes, and doesn’t go away.
  • Irregular border
  • Diameter is greater than 6mm (1/4 inch)

Melanoma is an aggressive and malignant skin cancer that is also formed from high radiation and UV exposure. Melanoma survival rates depend on early detection and treatment. 

Treatment options of any type of skin cancer vary on person, cancer type, and medical history. Like any other condition, early detection and diagnosis will allow Dr. Watkins to provide the most accurate treatment options. The options range from surgical removal of the tumor to a referral to a secondary provider for radiation, chemotherapy, or other treatment options. 

If you have a spot that’s concerning, call our office as soon as possible, or seek medical treatment with a local primary care office or emergency room. 

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