What does skin cancer look like on your leg?

Updated July 19, 2017

Malignant melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer, can sometimes be hard to detect on the legs, especially hard-to-see areas behind the knees and the back of legs.


Because skin cancer on the legs is more difficult to detect, early detection and knowing what to look for is key to treating it and to preventing it from spreading.


Malignant melanomas begin as an abnormal mole. They may have asymmetrical lesions and irregular borders.


If undetected and untreated, these spots usually change from brown or black to shades of white, red or blue. Sometimes the mole's colour may be darker in one area and lighter in another.


Some melanomas are small, while others can have a diameter larger than a pencil eraser.


To prevent malignant melanoma from appearing on your legs, wear sunblock with a high SPF on a daily basis, even while wearing trousers.


If you come across any odd-shaped mole or growth while checking your legs, or if a mole that used to look normal changes shape, size or colour, seek immediate medical attention to be tested for abnormal skin cells. If not taken care of immediately, melanoma on the legs is often fatal. Malignant melanoma can grow out of control quickly and metastasise to other organs.

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