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Moles Versus Melanoma Skin Cancer: Learn to Tell the Difference with Pictures

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Updated April 23, 2014

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Pictures of Moles and Melanoma Skin Cancer - Example of Melanoma
Picture of Melanoma Skin Cancer

Picture of Melanoma Skin Cancer

Photo © National Cancer Institute

An example of how melanoma tumors are often asymmetrical (lopsided), unlike non-cancerous moles.

If you have 50 or more normal moles (or 5 or more "dysplastic" moles), you should check your skin thoroughly several times per year. (Even if you don't have any moles, you should do a skin self-exam once per year.) If you see any of the following signs, contact your doctor:

  • A new, possibly large, irregularly shaped, dark brownish spot with darker or black areas.
  • A simple mole that changes in color (particularly turning darker), size (growing), or texture (becoming firmer), and/or flakes or bleeds.
  • A suspicious change in an existing mole or spot.
  • A lesion with an irregular border and red, white, blue, gray, or bluish-black areas or spots.
  • Dark lesions under the fingernails or toenails, on the palms, soles, tips of fingers and toes, or on mucous membranes (the skin that lines the mouth, nose, vagina, and anus).
Related Video
Track a Skin Mole for Melanoma
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