(Last Updated On: 08/30/2018)

Some melanoma mimickers are other forms of cancer, but most are benign, though they can really look like melanoma.

Many people will present to a doctor with what they fear is melanoma, when in fact, it turns out to be a benign condition.

But remember this: Many people who are diagnosed with melanoma had put off seeing a doctor, convinced more or less that their “mole” was nothing to worry about.

It’s better to be over-reactive to something you discover on your skin than to be under-reactive.

Conditions that Mimic Melanoma

Basal cell carcinoma (when pigmented)

Epidermolysis bullosa nevus

Exogenous pigmentation. This means a spot on the skin from an external source. The image below very much resembles melanoma, but it’s actually a stain from black walnuts.

Hemorrhage. This term refers to a very tiny round scab, which can mimic melanoma if located on one’s back—preventing one from inspecting it up close.

When on an easy to inspect area such as the forearm, these do look like the scabs they are. They can remain for days before falling off.


Too gruesome to post, but it’s a brown/black lesion that can affect the eye.

Onychocytic matricoma

Pigmented extramammary Paget disease

Pigmented fungiform papillae of the tongue (mimics oral melanoma)

Too gruesome to post.

Pigmented lichen planus-like keratosis

Pimple (can resemble nodular melanoma)

Reticulated acanthoma with sebaceous differentiation

Seborrheic keratosis

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