What skin cancer looks like

Skin cancer comes in many different shapes and forms depending on the type, progression, and the individual. Despite the differences, there are some common warning signs that indicate if a mole or growth may be cancerous. Below we go over what you should watch out for and share some images of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, to help you better identify it before it has a chance to spread.

The ABCDE method

One handy way to remember what skin cancer can look like is the ABCDE method. This tool describes some of the most common symptoms of melanoma skin cancer that appear on the skin.

Typically, melanoma will show up as a new spot or growth or a change in an already existing mole.

A normal mole will be smooth, even in color, quite small and have distinct edges. Most importantly, a normal mole will usually arrive and stay the same. It won’t change or evolve much over time.

Know your ABCDEs:

·  A – Asymmetrical Shape 

Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or asymmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

·  B – Border 

Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have fuzzy, irregular borders.

·  C – Color 

The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

·  D – Diameter 

Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 mm in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser) while normal moles will usually be 6 mm or smaller.

·  E – Evolution 

The evolution of a mole or growth is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to diagnosing skin cancer. That’s why it’s essential for individuals to take note of what is normal for their bodies. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist right away.

Skin cancer pictures

It’s important to note that the ABCDE method doesn’t cover all forms of melanoma or skin cancer. Learn about the other symptoms of melanoma and symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Images of skin cancer

Want to see examples of these symptoms? We have collected a set of verified skin cancer pictures here.

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