Melanoma pictures to help identify skin cancer

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Melanoma pictures for self-examination

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. It often can be cured if found early. These melanoma pictures can help show you what to look for.

The American Academy of Dermatology advises watching skin spots for:

  • Asymmetry.
  • Border irregularity.
  • Color changes.
  • Diameter greater than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters).
  • Evolving.

Follow the guide above, called the ABCDE guide, to see if a mole or spot on the skin might be melanoma.

Melanoma skin cancers

A: Asymmetry

Asymmetrical skin growths, in which one part is not like the other, might be melanoma. Here, the left side of the mole is dark and slightly raised. The right side is lighter in color and flat.

Melanoma with asymmetrical shape

B: Border irregularity

Melanomas may have borders that are uneven or jagged. Those growths need to be seen by a healthcare professional.

Melanoma with irregular border

C: Color changes

A spot with more than one color or uneven color may indicate cancer. Colors can include shades of tan, brown or black or areas of white, red or blue. Melanomas can look different on Black and brown skin than they do on white skin.

Melanoma showing changes in color

D: Diameter

A skin growth's large size may mean cancer. Have a healthcare professional check out any growth larger than the size of a pencil eraser, which is about 1/4 inch (6 millimeters).


E: Evolving

The mole shown here does not fit into any of the other rules about size, shape, color or pattern. But watch moles like this closely for changes. That's because the coloring of this mole is a little uneven.

Look for changes over time in all moles. Watch for new moles and moles that grow or change color or shape. Also watch for new symptoms, such as starting to itch or bleed.

Mole that may become melanoma
Dec. 16, 2023 See more In-depth