Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that can be quite intrusive and devastating. It is important to check your body regularly for these signs and symptoms and to always be on the lookout for any unusual moles, growths and lesions. It is also important to converse with your physician regarding melanoma. Included throughout the course of this brief article is a guide to a few of the signs and symptoms of melanoma and what, in particular, you should look for.
Unusual moles are perhaps the most common sign to look for when it comes to the phenomenon of melanoma. It is important to note that just because you have noticed the presence of an unusual mole does not mean that you definitively have melanoma; chances are, there is no cause for alarm whatsoever. However, it pays to be proactive regarding these matters and you may wish to consult with a physician regarding the matter, regardless.
When it comes to these unusual moles, there is an acronym you can employ that will help you easily identify such moles. This acronym is referred to as the ABCDE rule, with each letter corresponding to a variation on the typical mole aesthetic that may be indicative of melanoma.
A stands for asymmetry. With most moles being quite symmetrical, moles that are indicative of melanoma may be lopsided or top heavy with the heavier portion of the mole on the top rather than the bottom of the mole, giving it the appearance of a "top knot" hairstyle.
B stands for border. Unusual moles may have a jagged or "blurred" border, rather than the clean "cut" of a standard mole.
C stands for color. While most moles are one standard color, many atypical moles are several colors. These colors can consist of anything from the standard brown to a darker almost black shade, to a number of lighter colors, even pink, blue or red.
D is for diameter. Moles that are indicative of melanoma tend to be quite large, although this is not always the case. They tend to be significantly larger than 6mm across or the size of a large eraser.
E stands for evolving. In other words, this means the mole is always changing. It might be changing shape, size, color or you might even feel its heaviness. Evolving also means that you might experience different sensations from the mole, or you might feel a deeper or more protruding mole "root" underneath the skin.
If you have a problem mole, you should consult with a dermatologist and determine whether or not mole removal is right for you. The dermatologist will most likely test a part of the mole to determine if it is cancerous and will fully remove it if it is. The dermatologist may want to remove the mole, even if it does not contain cancer cells.
Other Warning Signs
Although moles are generally the easiest of the warning signs to spot, there are a number of other things that you should be on the lookout for. You should generally watch out for the following things:
- a sore that is having difficulty healing or simply will not heal
- spread of pigment around the skin
- redness or swelling beyond the border of any sores or moles present on your skin
- change of sensation on the skin (which may take the form of being quite sensitive, such as being unduly ticklish or finding the sensation of pain in areas of the skin which were not subjected to any trauma),
- change in the surface of your skin (this includes the presence of new moles).
Melanoma is not a laughing matter and you should take it as seriously as you can. Be on the lookout for these signs and symptoms which may lend themselves to the appearance of melanoma. Read more about mole removal to help determine if it's time to see a doctor.