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Melanoma Pictures and Melanoma Recognition


Do not rely on this information to diagnose yourself. Looking at a few melanoma pictures cannot match going through medical school. If worried, seek professional help.

How to recognize Melanoma

An acronym is an easy-to-remember set of initial letters reminding you of useful keywords. A widely used acronym for recognizing melanoma is ABCD.

A melanoma may be distinguishable from an ordinary mole by showing one or more of the ABCD features. If a mole has any of the following features, it is more likely (not certain) to be melanoma. That is, it is more likely than a mole without any of these features.

A is Asymmetry

This means that shape of one half doesn’t match the shape of the other half

Here are melanoma pictures depicting characteristic A

B is for Border

The edges of a melanoma are often notched, ragged, blurred, or irregular in outline; the color may spread into the surroundings.

Here are pictures of melanomas depicting characteristic B

C is for Color

The colors in a melanoma are often varied and uneven. In addition to the obvious blacks and browns,areas of grey, blue, pink, red or white may occur.

Here are melanoma pictures depicting characteristic C

D is Diameter

Anything bigger than pencil sized (1/4 inch or 6mm) may be suspect, particularly if noticeably changing (usually growing).

For purposes of comparison, I have here some pictures of a variety of skin features which are NOT melanoma.

Remember, these pictures are for guidance only. Just because what you have on your own skin may look to you, or not look to you, like one of these pictures does not confirm that it is, or is not melanoma. The situation is much more complex, and if in any doubt you must seek professional advice.

Importance of early diagnosis

Melanoma is usually curable if caught early whilst still thin and on the surface. If it is allowed to grow thick and invade downwards into the body, then it may cause serious damage, and even start setting up other tumor colonies around the body, which is far more difficult to deal with. See our first melanoma article for details.

Early diagnosis is therefore particularly vital. If an existing mole starts changing, or shows any of the ABCD symptoms above, or begins to itch, or gets a new black area, starts forming fine scales or gets harder or more lumpy, it is time to seek immediate professional help. Oozing or bleeding would make this even more urgent.

You may have heard of dysplastic nevi or atypical moles. These are moles which have some melanoma characteristics but fall short of full melanoma, and sometimes they are inherited in families. When identified they need careful watching by you and your physician, as they can often turn into melanoma. I suggest you don’t concern yourself with this distinction. As far as you are concerned, anything melanoma-like should be taken straight to a professional. Let him/her worry about these fine distinctions.

This is our second article on melanoma. The first deals with “What is Melanoma” and can be found here.

4 Comments so far

  1. naisioxerloro November 28th, 2007 5:57 pm

    Good design, who make it?

  2. Bo April 15th, 2008 3:06 pm

    Hi. I was born with a rather large birthmark that appears as melanoma. After the birth of my son a surgeon insisted I have a biopsy. I have had six, the end results, begnin. Thank God! However, eventhough before my biopsies it was perfectly round, now it has a horrible shape with gouges in it:( It looks more like melanoma now than it did before. Also, I am finding your site helpful because I have freckles on the palms of my hands & feet, as do my children. This worries me as a mother. Can these be genetic? Can all moles be genetic? The birthmark mentioned earlier was the exact one of my mother’s, & her aunt before her, in the exact same spot on our backs. Insight would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

  3. Seatepibpak December 19th, 2008 1:22 pm


    As a fresh user i only want to say hello to everyone else who uses this site

  4. Remiinhania January 7th, 2009 11:24 am

    What is bumburbia?

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