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How do you describe what skin cancer looks like?

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Quick Answer

The appearance of skin cancer changes depending on the type of skin cancer that is present, but most can be described as scaly, rough spots on the skin or an abnormal mole, according to WebMD. The most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.

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Full Answer

Basal cell carcinoma is not only the most common forms of skin cancer, it's also the most treatable, says WebMD. This type of cancer forms as small tumors on areas of the head, such as the ears, neck and face, and appears as a white, waxy bump. Other forms of basal cell carcinoma form on the chest and back and appear flat and scaly with slight discoloration.

Not all moles are cancerous, but some abnormalities, represented as the acronym ABCDE, need to be taken into consideration when diagnosing skin cancer, claims WebMD. Moles that are asymmetrical and have a jagged border may be caused by melanoma. A normal mole has a single shade of color, whereas a cancerous mole may have several, such as brown, red or black.

The size of a mole needs to be taken into consideration as well and should not be larger than the diameter a pencil eraser, as reported by WebMD. Moles that evolve with time also need to be evaluated by a doctor.

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