Skin cancers may appear differently, depending on the type. Melanoma can look like a mole with an irregular shape and color. Non-melanoma skin cancers may appear as discolored patches or lumps on the skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that about 1 in 5 Americans will get the condition at some point in their life.
This article describes what skin cancer looks like, the different warning signs to look out for, and more.
This section looks at some pictures of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
Learn more about skin cancer.
The two main types of skin cancer are melanoma and non-melanoma, and their appearances may differ.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because it can spread to other parts of the body. However, it is less common than non-melanoma.
Sometimes, the moles bleed or develop ulcerations, and in some cases, new moles start to grow near an existing one.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are two major types of non-melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma commonly develops in areas of the skin exposed to the sun.
Learn more about how skin cancer appears on dark skin.
To check for skin cancers, healthcare professionals may recommend people examine their skin regularly and look out for certain signs.
To do this, a person can use the abbreviation “ABCDE”, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving.
Below is a further explanation of this method.
A person should check the similarity between the two halves of a mole, spot, or bump that has grown on the skin.
Checking the borders of an abnormal skin growth may also be useful in identifying potential skin cancers.
Moles, bumps, and patches with irregular, ragged, and undefined borders are common signs of skin cancer.
Skin cancer spots can appear in a variety of colors in different people.
In white or light-skinned people, they can appear brown, black, red, pink, or blue.
People with dark skin may need to look out for skin patches that are darker than other parts.
In general, colors can vary from one area of the bumps or moles to another. For instance, melanomas can appear in multiple colors, including black, brown, red, blue, white, and shades of tan.
Skin cancers are usually larger than a
This stands for changes in the bumps, patches, or moles. With time, they often undergo changes in size, shape, and color.
Other warning signs of skin cancer include:
Actinic keratosis (solar keratosis)
Actinic keratosis appears as thick, crusty, and scaly areas of bumps or patches on the skin.
Excess exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a common cause of this. While they increase the chances of skin cancer, not all cases of actinic keratosis receive a diagnosis of skin cancer.
Actinic cheilitis is a form of actinic keratosis that appears on the lips. It is a precancerous lesion, and too much sun exposure can cause it.
It is not cancer at the onset, but it can
A cutaneous horn is a hard, horn-like shape projecting from the skin. It commonly occurs in sun-exposed skin areas.
Most of them are benign and harmless. However, about
Here are some common questions people ask about skin cancer.
Does skin cancer itch?
Different types of skin cancer, such as melanoma, may cause itching.
However, not all skin itchiness is a result of cancer.
If people experience itching alongside other symptoms such as abnormal skin growths, pain, bleeding, and crusts from patches, they should contact a doctor.
How do you identify skin cancer?
Skin cancer can cause different signs and symptoms, such as:
- bumps and lesions with irregular borders
- speckles, moles, or bumps that change in size, color, and shape
- sores that do not heal
- swelling with redness, pain, itchiness, or tenderness that persists
If a person notices similar signs and symptoms, it would be best to speak with a healthcare professional.
They may recommend that the person visits the hospital so that doctors can perform a physical examination.
Skin cancers look different in different people, and not everyone will have the same signs that this article describes.
However, it is always safer to speak with a doctor if a person notices something unusual. This includes new spots on the skin that won’t go away, bleeding spots, or sores that do not heal.