Skin Cancer Pictures

What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

Skin cancer can happen to anyone, at any age, on any part of the body. And because skin cancers appear in many shapes and sizes, they can be challenging to identify. While skin cancer pictures can be helpful in learning what skin cancer can look like, getting to know your own skin and understanding what to look for can help you detect cancer early when it’s easiest to cure.

That’s why you should examine your skin once a month. If you see something NEW, CHANGING OR UNUSUAL – even if it looks nothing like what you see in photos – do not wait! Get it checked by a dermatologist right away. Finding and treating skin cancer early can save your life.

Skin Cancer Image Gallery

Below is a selection of photos that give you a general idea about what skin cancers can look like. Remember that skin cancers can look quite different from one person to another due to skin tone, size and type of skin cancer and location on the body. Skin cancer can be tricky in other ways, too. For example, melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is often pigmented tan, brown, black, even blue. But amelanotic melanoma lacks pigment and appears as a skin-tone or pink lesion.

To sum it up, while photos can be helpful, getting your skin examined by a dermatologist is the most vital step in identifying and treating skin cancer.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) Photos

an open sore on the skin basal cell carcinoma
An open sore that does not heal
basal cell carcinoma bcc
An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains open for a few weeks, only to heal up and then bleed again.
picture basal cell carcinoma on man's left eyebrow
A reddish patch or irritated area
picture shiny bump on woman's face
A shiny bump or nodule
picture white scar man forehead basal cell carcinoma
White, yellow or waxy scar
A basal cell carcinoma may be pigmented, like this one, on skin of color.
A basal cell carcinoma may be pigmented on skin of color. Photo: Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH
BCC on nose of Latino male
BCC on the nose.
pink growth bcc
A small pink growth with a slightly raised, rolled edge and a crusted indentation in the center
basal cell carcinoma woman's face
A shiny bump or nodule
Pigmented BCC behind the ear
Pigmented BCC behind the ear. Photo: Hugh Gloster, MD
basal cell carcinoma bcc
A scar-like area that is white, yellow or waxy, and often has poorly defined borders
Pigmented BCC
Pigmented BCC. Photo credit: Hugh Gloster, MD
BCC on the nose of an Asian man
BCC on the nose. Photo: Hugh Gloster, MD
basal cell carcinoma bcc
A pink growth
basal cell carcinoma lower eyelid lash line
A subtle pearly lesion in the middle of the lower eyelid’s lash line is a BCC.

For information on basal cell carcinoma signs and symptoms, visit our BCC Warning Signs page.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) Images

Squamous cell carcinoma scaly patch
A persistent, scaly red patch with irregular borders that sometimes crusts or bleeds.
squamous cell carcinoma on lip
An elevated growth with a central depression that occasionally bleeds. It may rapidly increase in size.
Une plaie ouverte qui saigne, forme des croûtes et persiste depuis plusieurs semaines.
An open sore that bleeds and crusts and persists for weeks.
crusty spot eye squamous cell carcinoma
This crusty spot near the eye was diagnosed as a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
wart-like growth squamous cell carcinoma on ear
A wart-like growth that crusts and occasionally bleeds.
cutaneous horn squamous cell carcinoma lower eyelid
This horn-shaped growth on the lower eyelid, known as a cutaneous horn, is an SCC.
Picture open sore man left ear
An open sore that bleeds or crusts and persists for weeks.
Patch on man hand squamous cell carcinoma
A persistent, scaly red patch with irregular borders that sometimes crusts or bleeds.
squamous cell carcinoma on the scalp of a Black man
Squamous cell carcinoma on the scalp. Photo: Hugh Gloster, MD

For information on squamous cell carcinoma signs and symptoms, visit our SCC Warning Signs page.

Melanoma Photos

Picture of mole with asymmetry, melanoma warning sign
Asymmetrical melanoma
Picture mole with irregular border
The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
melanoma picture mole unconventional color
Having a mole with a variety of colors is a melanoma warning sign
picture uncommon large mole
Melanomas usually are larger in diameter but may be smaller when first detected
stage 1a melanoma
Stage IA melanoma
subungal melanoma
Subungual melanoma under the nail
evolving melanoma
Melanoma evolved and grew outward, upward and inward in a matter of months.
acral lentiginous melanoma
Acral lentiginous melanoma
Nodular melanoma 1.3mm on upper back
Nodular melanoma 1.3mm on upper back. Photo: Elizabeth K. Hale, MD
Superficial melanoma 0.55mm Upper Arm
Superficial melanoma 0.55mm on upper arm. Photo: Elizabeth K. Hale, MD
An example of a flat, amelanotic, superficial spreading melanoma on the leg.
Amelanotic melanomas may be pinkish-looking, reddish, purple, normal skin color or essentially clear and colorless
acral lentiginous melanoma
Acral lentiginous melanoma
A nodular melanoma developing within an amelanotic melanoma in situ on the scalp.
Amelanotic melanoma

For information on melanoma signs and symptoms, visit our Melanoma Warning Signs page.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) Pictures

Picture merkel cell carcinoma on woman's left eyelid
Merkel cell carcinoma on woman's left eyelid. Photos: Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD
merkel cell carcinoma on arm
Merkel cell carcinoma on the arm
Merkel cell carcinomas
Merkel cell carcinoma on forehead and arm
merkel cell carcinoma on the lower leg
Merkel cell carcinoma on the lower leg
Merkel cell carcinoma
Bump on leg that turned out to be Merkel cell carcinoma

For information on Merkel cell carcinoma signs and symptoms, visit our MCC Warning Signs page.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis (also known as solar keratosis) is the most common precancer. For photos and information on actinic keratosis warning signs and symptoms, visit our Actinic Keratosis Warning Signs page.

Rare Skin Cancers

Please visit our Rare skin cancers page for more information and pictures of rare skin cancers such as:

  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Microcystic adnexal carcinoma (MAC)
  • Sebaceous carcinoma
  • Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma
  • Extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD)

For links to more comprehensive skin cancer information, visit our Skin Cancer 101 page.

Picture of a white hat and two pair of sunglasses. Caption says: Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The Skin Cancer Foundation.