Can You Spot the Skin Cancer?

Here's how to identify a melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and more.

Skin cancer isn't always simple to identify. In fact, it often goes undiagnosed for far too long. Knowing which marks and blemishes on your body should be cause for concern can help you to get diagnosed before it's too late.

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Basal cell carcinoma

The Skin Cancer Foundation

The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. Like squamous cell, it tends to show up in places that get a lot of sun, like the face, shoulders, and back.

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The American Academy of Dermatology

Melanoma is the deadliest from of skin cancer. Look for its so-called ABCDE signs: Asymmetry (the mole's halves don't match); Borders that are uneven; Color ranging from light to almost black; Diameter typically larger than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser); and Evolution of some kind in a short amount of time—what doctors consider the most telling signs.

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Actinic keratosis

The Skin Cancer Foundation

The scaly or crusty growths from actinic keratosis are the most common precancer, affecting over 58 million Americans.

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Squamous cell carcinoma

Getty Images

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most-common skin cancer. It may present itself on all areas of the body, but most commonly it's found on areas frequently exposed to the sun.

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Benign mole

The American Association of Dermatology

A benign mole is symmetrical with smooth borders and consistent coloring.

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Nodular melanoma

The Melanoma Education Foundation

This form of skin cancer can be especially fast-growing. It usually starts as a raised area.

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