Signs of Melanoma

Melanoma can appear suddenly - as a new mole - or it can grow slowly, in or near an existing mole.

In men, melanomas are often found between the shoulders and hips, or the head and neck area. In women, melanoma often develops on the lower legs as well as between the shoulders and hips. However, melanoma can appear anywhere on the skin.

The best way to find changes in these moles and markings is by doing regular skin self-examinations. If you notice any of the following on your skin, see your doctor as soon as possible:
  • A growth that increases in size and looks pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, red, pink, or multicolored
  • A mole that changes in color or in texture, takes on an uneven shape, gets larger, or is bigger than a pencil eraser
  • A spot or growth that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, fade, or bleed
  • An open sore that lasts for more than 4 weeks, or heals and then reopens
  • A scaly or crusty bump that is dry, rough, and pointed (sticks out like a horn) and may sometimes cause a pricking or tender feeling in the skin
It is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The American Cancer Society recommends a skin examination during a routine cancer-related check-up in all adults age 20 years and older.


Signs of skin cancer