Skin Cancer and Other Skin Problems

Skin Cancer and Other Skin Problems 150 150 Tony Guo

Skin Cancer and Other Skin Problems

Lesion distribution terminology

  • Annular – Circular, begins in center and spreads to periphery (e.g., tinea corporis [ringworm])
  • Asymmetric – Unilateral distribution
  • Confluent – Merging together (e.g., urticaria [hives])
  • Discrete – Distinct individual lesions that remain separate (e.g., acne)
  • Gyrate – Twisted, coiled spiral, snakelike
  • Grouped – Clusters of lesions (e.g., vesicles of contact dermatitis)
  • Localized – Limited areas of involvement that are clearly defined (confined to one area)
  • Polycyclic – Annular lesions grow together (e.g., psoriasis)
  • Solitary – Single lesion
  • Symmetric – Bilateral distribution
  • Zosteriform – Linear arrangement along a dermatome area (e.g., herpes zoster)

Assessment variation in light and dark-skinned person


Light skin

Dark skin


Grayish blue tone, especially in nail beds, earlobes, lips, mucous membranes, palms, and soles

Ashen or gray color most easily seen in the conjunctiva of the eye, mucous membranes, and nail beds


Dark red, purple, yellow, or green color, depending on age of bruise

Purple to brownish black. Difficult to see unless occurring in an area of light pigmentation


Reddish tone, possibly accompanied by increased skin temperature secondary to localized inflammation

Deeper brown or purple skin tone with evidence of increased skin temperature secondary to inflammation


Yellowish color of skin, sclera, fingernails, palms, and oral mucosa

Yellowish green color most obviously seen in sclera of eye (do not confuse with yellow eye pigmentation, which may be evident in dark-skinned patients), palms, and soles


Pale skin color that may appear white or ashen; also evident on lips, nail beds, and mucous membranes

Lack of underlying red tone in brown or black skin. In light-skinned African Americans, yellowish brown skin. In dark-skinned African Americans, ashen or gray skin


Lesions appearing as small, reddish purple pinpoints, best observed on abdomen and buttocks

Difficult to see. May be evident in the buccal mucosa of the mouth or conjunctiva of the eye


May be visualized and felt with light palpation

Not easily visualized, but may be felt with light palpation


Generally heals, showing narrow scar line

Higher incidence of keloid development, resulting in a thickened, raised scar

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