Melanoma on the Leg: Understanding Detection and Prognosis

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that can occur anywhere on the body. While it often develops in areas exposed to the sun, such as the back, legs, arms, and face, it can also appear in less sun-exposed regions. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of melanoma on the leg, including its appearance, detection, and prognosis.

Melanoma on the Leg: What You Need to Know

Location Matters for Melanoma Development

Melanomas most commonly develop in areas that have been exposed to the sun, including the legs. It’s essential to recognize that melanomas can also occur in areas with minimal sun exposure, such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, and fingernail beds. These hidden melanomas are more frequently found in people with darker skin.

Early Detection is Crucial

Early detection of melanoma can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment. It’s important to regularly examine your skin for anything new, changing, or unusual, not only on sun-exposed areas but also on sun-protected regions. For women, it’s worth noting that melanomas frequently appear on the legs, while men tend to develop them on the trunk.[1] However, melanomas can arise anywhere on the skin, even in areas not directly exposed to the sun.

Melanoma on leg

Appearance of Melanoma on the Leg

Melanoma on the leg may present and behave differently in different people. Characteristics include:

  • Spots, sores, moles, or bumps on the skin that change in shape, size, or color
  • Red or brown colored scaly skin
  • Skin that oozes, bleeds, swells, or may feel painful, itchy, or tender[2]


Prognosis and Survival

Location plays a crucial role in the prognosis and survival of melanoma patients. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, having melanoma on the arms or legs generally has a better prognosis than having melanoma on the central part of the body, head, or neck.[3]

Early Detection and Awareness Are Key for Melanomas on the Leg

In conclusion, melanoma can affect any part of the body, including the legs. Early detection and awareness of the appearance of melanomas on the leg are vital for increasing the chances of successful treatment. Regular skin self-exams and understanding the different types and locations of melanoma can make a significant difference in achieving a positive prognosis.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional if you notice any unusual skin changes or have concerns about melanoma. Your doctor can provide a proper diagnosis, discuss treatment options, and guide you toward the best course of action for your specific situation.‌

Get Support

Save Your Skin Foundation wishes to bring hope and support to all those touched by melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancers, or ocular melanoma – whether they are newly diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment, in remission or referred to as “NED” (no evidence of disease).


We are here to help. Call us at 1-800-460-5832 or email

Learn about other types of skin cancer:

Basal Cell Carcinoma

BCC is the most common cancer in the world, with incidence exceeding that of all other cancers combined. BCC can develop anywhere, though it is most commonly found in sun exposed areas.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which begins in the keratinocyte cells, is the second most common skin cancer. While SCC usually develops in areas that have been exposed to the sun, it can also manifest in burn or wound sites.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare non-melanoma skin cancer. It can develop in the merkel cells, which are found in the deepest areas of the epidermis and hair follicles.

[1] “Melanoma Warning Signs and Images.” The Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 May 2023, Accessed October 24, 2023.

[2] “Skin Cancer on Leg: Appearance and More.” Medical News Today, 17 Apr. 2023, Accessed 24 Oct. 2023.

[3] Lee, Sid. “Prognosis and Survival for Melanoma Skin Cancer.” Canadian Cancer Society, 2015, Accessed 24 Oct. 2023.