Melanoma (mehl-uh-NO-muh) has been included here for completeness, but this website does not focus on melanoma. For more information on melanoma, including how to spot one, please go to the AIM at Melanoma website by clicking here Methods of Early Detection – AIM at Melanoma Foundation

Many lesions for melanoma can be judged by the ABCDE rules:
A = Asymmetry (the shape of one half does not match the other)
B = Border (the melanoma has uneven or irregular borders)
C = Color (can be multiple shades of brown or black, and sometimes mixed with white, gray, blue, or red; some may show a loss of pigmentation in or around a preexisting mole)
D = Diameter (often larger than 6 mm in diameter; however, because of increased early detection, 30% of melanomas are less than 6 mm in diameter when they are found)
E = Evolution (the mole has changed or evolved over time)

Melanoma showing ABCDE features
Melanoma showing ABCDE features


While people of color are less likely to develop melanoma than lighter-skinned individuals, they can still develop melanoma. In people of color, there is a higher proportion of melanoma cases called acral lentiginous. This type of melanoma occurs on the palms, soles of the feet, or in or below the nails. These are not areas that are typically exposed to the sun. Regardless of your skin color, you should check your hands, feet, and nails for these types of spots. You should also make sure your provider looks at them during any skin checks. Note: It’s important to take off nail polish before inspecting your nails so you can get a clear view.

Acral lentiginous melanoma
Acral lentiginous melanoma
Melanoma of the nail-matrix
Melanoma of the nail-matrix

Watermarked images show the source of the image. The sources for specific non-watermarked images are listed below.
These non-watermarked images are from the following sources: The BCC image that resembles a small scratch is reprinted with courtesy of Saturn Stills/Science Photo Library. The morpheaform BCC image has been obtained courtesy of Creative Commons. This image gallery was reviewed by Dr. Silvina Pugliese, MD, Stanford University.

*The remaining images without a watermark are from various professionals who made their images available to the public as a service via Wikimedia Commons.