What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?


Quick Answer

Skin cancer can appear as hardened protrusions, lip discoloration, flaking skin or atypical moles that exhibit irregular borders and color variations, notes WebMD. Skin cancer develops in many forms according to its origin and the type of cancer a person acquires, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

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What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?
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Full Answer

WebMD recommends that patients monitor their moles and freckles for changes over time according to a detection system called the ABCDEs. This process is designed to help people recognize unusual developments to a mole or freckle's symmetry, border, color, diameter and texture. Moles and freckles that exhibit asymmetry, have borders that are not well-defined or contain multiple shades of brown, red, black, white or blue should be examined by a family physician or licensed dermatologist, notes WebMD. Moles usually do not grow larger than the size of a standard pencil eraser, so enlarged moles should be monitored for additional warning signs. WebMD explains that it is particularly concerning if a flat mole begins to protrude from the skin or develops symptoms of itching and bleeding, especially if these changes develop rapidly.

People are encouraged to perform their own full-body visual examinations of moles with a handheld mirror to detect the presence of new moles or changes to existing moles, states WebMD. It is helpful to document suspicious developments with photographs so that a doctor has as much information as possible to make a proper diagnosis.

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