Table of contents

Share this post:
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer as it typically will spread to other areas of the body, including organs, if left untreated.

Non-melanoma skin cancers, such as Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Basal Cell Carcinoma, are generally considered less dangerous as they are less likely to spread and can usually be treated with surgery. It can occur anywhere on the body, including areas not exposed to the sun, like inside the mouth or the palms of the hands. Men are more likely to get melanomas on their back while women are more likely to experience them on their legs.

Melanoma begins in melanocyte cells. It occurs when those cells behave abnormally, growing excessively and taking over surrounding tissues. They can develop from existing moles or skin growths, but, more commonly, they will start as a new growth.

For more on common forms of skin cancer, view our page on Skin Cancer.

“Although melanoma can develop by coincidence, most cases of melanoma are likely caused by radiation from sunlight; some studies even put incidences of skin cancer caused by sun exposure at around 95%.”

All about Melanoma


Everyone is at risk of getting Melanoma, however not everyone has the same risk as a large variety of factors can cause it. From personal or family history to outside behaviour – there is a lot that can impact skin health.


It is crucial to stay on top of your moles, even when you have been watching yourself thoroughly. There are many symptoms to look out for, especially suspicious or changing moles are important to keep a close eye on.


Melanoma is often segmented into four different types. Three of them start relatively in situ, although this can definitely change over time. One type, however, can be invasive right from the start and may spread to other parts of the body quickly.


Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer and can do some serious harm, however when the right prevention methods are used it can be caught early. There are many ways to prevent it from forming, some more obvious than others.
Melanoma 1

Vera Heydendael

Senior Dermatologist

Melanoma has been on the rise for years for different reasons. Increased tanning, low awareness and more sun exposure during holidays.

Early detection is the key to treating it. The earlier it is found, the more treatment options there are.

Make sure to self-check your whole body every 3 months if you have more than 50 moles. In other cases, do it at least twice per year.

Pictures of Melanoma

Our overview of melanoma pictures includes pictures of moles and other skin lesions, that you can use as a first comparison to any moles you might feel uncomfortable with.

The melanoma pictures give you an idea of what it can look like. Signs of melanoma can differ in form, color or borders. These signs are measured below each picture.

Other characteristics such as diameter and evolution are not shown, as they are difficult to assess through static images. However, when you check your skin, make sure to check for these signs, too.

Disclaimer: These images contain visual content that might be perceived as disturbing.

Skin cancer picture
Mole example with a suspicious asymmetry and color
Skin cancer picture
Dark skin mole with a suspicious asymmetry and color
Skin cancer picture
Dark skin mole with a suspicious asymmetry and color

Frequently asked questions about

There are four main types of melanoma:

Superficial spreading melanoma: This is the most common type, accounting for about 70% of melanoma cases. It can occur anywhere on the body, but is found more frequently in the upper back, legs in women and torso in men.

Lentigo maligna: This is the most common form in the elderly and it is most likely to appear in sun-exposed areas, especially head and neck

Acral lentiginous melanoma: This is the most common form of melanoma found in people with darker skin, mainly individuals with African ancestry. It is most frequently found on the sole of the feet, palm of the hands or beneath the nail.

Nodular melanoma: The most aggressive form, corresponds to 10-15% of melanoma cases.

Other types like amelanotic and desmoplastic melanomas are rare.

The first melanoma warning signs often are the appearance of a new skin spot or an existing skin lesion that grows or changes in color or shape. You should pay attention to spots that look different from all of the other spots on your skin.

To help you keep an eye on your dangerous moles you can use the ABCDE rule to recognize the warning signs on it: Asymmetry ,Border irregularity, multiple Colours, Diameter greater than 6 mm and Evolution. If you notice these warning signs or if your skin spot is changing,visit a healthcare professional promptly. During medical examination your doctor will ask about symptoms, risk factors such as family history of skin cancer or sunburn and examine your skin to look for signs that may indicate melanoma. Any suspicious area will be removed and sent for laboratory analysis (this is called skin biopsy). Biopsy is the only sure way for the doctor to know if it is skin cancer.

Melanoma spreads when the tumor’s malignant cells travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body such as lymph nodes, tissues or organs.


How SkinVision can help you!

SkinVision enables you to check your skin spots for signs of skin cancer within 30 seconds. Our algorithm is currently at the level of a specialist dermatologist.
In skin spots with a potential health risk, SkinVision provides feedback about the preferred next step to take.

SkinVision also enables you to store photos to keep track of changes over time, helping you to monitor your health in the long term.

The efficient and easy-to-use solution is available for iOS and Android and helps to make skin monitoring a simple routine.

YouTube video
Learn the health of your skin
Melanoma 2
Check your skin for skin cancer today.
Help & Support
If you cannot find an answer there, please contact us
"The melanoma could have been on my arm for years"
Andrew Bartlett
United Kingdom
"The melanoma could have been on my arm for years"
Andrew Bartlett
United Kingdom

Skin Health Articles & News

TOP 3 Body Parts People Miss with Sunscreen
Sunscreen is Your Best Friend (in Winter Too)
Melanoma Men
Melanoma strikes men harder, it’s time to strike back
How does SkinVision’s algorithm detect skin cancer?
SkinVision PZU
What to Expect from Your Skin Check Appointment
SkinVision partners with leading Australian sun protective clothing brand Solbari