I have a quarter size clear scab on my chest that doesn’t heal – is it pre-cancerous?

A non-healing area of the skin is a self-reported patient observation that oftentimes leads to the early recognition diagnosis of skin cancer. Non-healing areas, or scabs, on the chest in a sun exposed area can represent squamous cell cancers, actinic keratosis, basal cell cancers, or even the occasional ulcerated melanoma.

If you were to present this to a dermatologist with an observation of a non-healing area, he or she would likely take a two to three millimeter piece of skin from that area. This will help to confirm the diagnosis and the appropriate margins of clear skin that we'll need to take to make sure the skin cancer is completely treated.