Cochise Oncology

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What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the US, with between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma and 132,000 melanoma cancers diagnosed each year. 

Non-melanoma skin cancers typically appear as a scaly growth or raised nodule that sometimes bleeds or develops a crusty outer layer. You usually find it on the forehead, nose, hands, lips, and other parts of the body exposed to the sun. 

Melanomas are usually black or brown and look a bit like moles, but they can also be pink, tan, or white. Sometimes, you’ll notice that they look different from regular moles in shape because they appear to bleed into the surrounding skin or grow rapidly over time.

Tucson Skin Cancer

About Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, typically caused by excess sun exposure. Usually, the first sign of the disease is a mole that changes shape or color. Surgical treatment is possible if caught early enough. However, more advanced cases may require radiation to remove tumors deeper within the body. 

The ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer

Clinicians have developed the ABCDE’s of skin cancer to help people identify potential tumors so that they can seek rapid treatment: 

A for Asymmetry

Most moles are round in shape and have equal pigmentation throughout. Melanomas, by contrast, often have sections that don’t match. 

Try drawing a line through the middle of the mole. If both sides are different, then it could be a sign of skin cancer. 

B for Border

Regular moles also have well-defined borders — there is a clear transition from the mole to standard skin patches. However, in the case of melanoma, you may notice that borders have notched or scalloped edges. Sometimes, it will appear as though the mole is bleeding out into the surrounding skin.


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

C for Color

Regular moles are usually brown but melanomas can be black, brown, and tan. You may also notice blues, reds, and whites develop over time. 

D for Diameter and/or Dark

The diameter of melanoma skin lesions is usually much larger than moles. At Cochise Oncology, we recommend that you see a physician if you notice a new mole that is larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser. However, you may want to get a checkup if you notice any new mole on your body. 

E for Evolving

Melanoma tends to change in size, shape, and elevation from the skin. 

Benefits of Annual Skin Screenings

Having an expert evaluate your skin gives you the best chance of finding potentially cancerous skin lesions. Trained physicians at Cochise Oncology scan your skin, using their significant expertise to identify possible signs of disease. 

We suggest that you return to the clinic annually for regular checkups. Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it also allows you to keep tabs on moles that are evolving through time. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to learn more about skin cancer? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page. We look forward to meeting you!

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