Chapter 3: Symptoms and health concerns

Malignant wounds – What are they and what may cause them

A malignant wound is an open cancerous area of the skin. It may look like an open area on the skin’s surface or appear as bumps or irregular-looking growths. The wound may be the result of a skin cancer or a cancer from another area of the person’s body. Cancers such as breast, head and neck, skin, anal-rectal, gastrointestinal, and lymphoma are the most common types that cause malignant wounds.

Malignant wounds can result in infection, bleeding, odour, and drainage from the wound. Sometimes the wound becomes very painful.

Malignant wounds can affect a person’s overall quality of life. Ongoing assessment of these wounds is important because they can change frequently. Unfortunately, advanced malignant wounds often do not heal, but things can be done to manage them.

Keeping track

Be sure to note any new wounds and changes to an existing wounds in the tracking journal. This will help to share information with the healthcare provider.

The healthcare provider will ask some questions, which will likely include how it’s affecting the person. They will also measure the wound and ask about other medical conditions and medications.

Click here to see some questions the healthcare provider may ask. You can use these to guide the tracking journal.