Eight little-known warning signs on the scalp of deadly disease

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Many of us are careful when it comes to protecting our skin from the sun.

However, there is one patch of skin that can be forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to damage.

A doctor has urged people to be aware of the signs of scalp cancer – a lesser-known form of skin cancer.

Speaking to Devon Live, Doctor Chun Tang – medical director at Pall Mall – explained: “Scalp cancer, also known as cutaneous scalp malignancy, refers to cancerous growths that occur on the head.

“It can be more challenging to detect early, as the scalp is commonly covered by hair, making it harder to spot changes in the skin.

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“The scalp is an area often exposed to intense sunlight, especially during beach holidays.

“This makes it vulnerable to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

“And as a result, people may unknowingly develop scalp cancer, as the symptoms can mimic regular day to day occurrences, such as an irritated scalp.”

Signs and symptoms of scalp cancer will vary depending on the type of cancer present, Dr Tang said.

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But he shared eight potential warning signs of the disease to look out for.

Persistent sore or non-healing sore

A sore on the scalp that will not heal or keeps returning could signal scalp cancer.

Lump or bump

A new lump, bump, or swelling on the scalp that persists and grows over time should be checked out by a professional.

Irregular patch of skin

This refers to patches of the scalp that appear scaly, rough, or crusty, with changes in colour or texture.

Ulceration or open wound

Open sores, ulcers, or wounds that don’t heal within a few weeks could be a sign of cancer.


Unexplained bleeding from the scalp or an ulcerated area should be looked into.

Changes in hair growth pattern

If you experience noticeable changes in the growth pattern of hair on the scalp, such as thinning or loss of hair in a localised area, you should seek advice.

Itching or tenderness

Persistent itching or tenderness on a specific area of the scalp that doesn’t get better with regular care could indicate scalp cancer.

Enlarged lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes on the neck or around the scalp area could be a sign that the cancer has spread.

Dr Tang added: “Please remember, it’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other scalp conditions.

“But if you have any concerns about your scalp health or notice any unusual changes, always consult a healthcare professional such as your GP or a consultant dermatologist.”

To reduce the risk of developing scalp cancer he recommended:

  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or headscarf when out in the sun
  • Apply a high SPF sun cream to exposed parts of the scalp
  • Routinely examining the scalp for changes or abnormalities.

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