Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Early detection and treatment of this disease usually yields a good prognosis, so aside from having a yearly skin cancer screening you should be aware of what changes to look for in your skin that may be signs of melanoma.
Early Signs of Melanoma
Melanoma has its early signs. The most important sign to look out for is any change in size, shape or color of a mole, birthmark or other skin growth. You should be on the lookout for any change that occurs in a course of weeks up to a month. Have you heard about the “ABCDE rule camera” that you can use to examine and evaluate the changes on your skin? We’ll discuss this below and should you see any of the following changes mentioned, pay your doctor a visit immediately.
Checking for Melanoma: The ABCDE Rule Camera
- A stands for asymmetry camera. This is when half of the mole or skin growth is not matching the other half.
- B stands for border irregularity camera. Check if borders or the edges of the mole or skin growth is ragged, notched or blurred.
- C stands for color camera. This means that the pigmentation is not uniform. There are shades of tan, brown and black in the mole plus dashes of red white and blue making the mole look blotchy. A mole showing changes in color distribution and especially that of spreading of the mole’s color from its edge to the surrounding skin is one of the early signs of melanoma.
- D stands for diameter camera. One should be concerned if a mole grows larger tan 6 mm or 0.25 in. This is about the size of a pencil eraser. It is also important to note that any growth of a mole is a reason to be concerned.
- E stands for evolution camera. If you notice any change in the size, shape, color, symptoms like itching or tenderness or if there is any change in the surface especially if there is bleeding, you should schedule an appointment with your skin doctor.
One should also watch out for any changes that happen in an existing mole as they can be early signs of melanoma.
Here are things to keep an eye out for.
- A once flat mole having elevation like thickening or raising is a reason for concern.
- The mole’s surface showing scaling, erosion, crusting or even oozing and bleeding are signs of melanoma.
- Another thing to watch out for is redness or swelling in the skin surrounding the mole or the appearance of satellite pigmentations. These are small patches of color surrounding a larger lesion.
- Watch out for sensations in the mole such as itching, burning or tingling.
- You should also be on the watch for softening of the mole or small pieces of it breaking off quite easily.
Regularly check your skin for signs of skin cancer and see to it that you get a screening test for this disease at least once a year.
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