Preventing Skin Cancer by Recognizing Melanoma Symptoms Early
Melanoma is a worrisome form of skin cancer that could lead to more serious health issues if left undiagnosed. Melanoma is not as common as other forms of skin cancer but it does cause majority of the deaths from the disease. Learn how to prevent it by recognizing melanoma symptoms early.
Often the very first melanoma symptoms are manifested as marks or spots on the skin, often resembling moles. While true moles are harmless, not so spots that are early signs of skin cancer. To recognize melanoma symptoms, keep the ABCDs in mind.
A – Asymmetry
Harmless moles are symmetrical, which means that if you draw a vertical line exactly in the middle, the two halves should appear equal in shape and size. Skin cancer spots, on the other hand, are asymmetrical, in that they appear uneven or irregularly shaped.
B – Border
Moles and other harmless spots have a well-defined border. Skin cancer spots, however, tend to have an irregular, blurry, notched or ragged outline. Pigmentation or color may appear to “bleed” or spread to the skin surrounding the mole itself.
One of the most important melanoma symptoms is color. Ordinary moles and marks in the body tend to have one solid color that is uniform throughout. Skin cancer moles, however, have uneven shading. One mole, for example, may appear mottled in different shades of black, tan or brown. In some cases, shades of white, red and blue may also appear. One of the early melanoma symptoms to watch out for is any change in the distribution of color, such as when it spreads to the surrounding skin from the border of the mole.
D – Diameter
Harmless moles generally do not change size. If a mole is cancerous, however, it will begin growing bigger. Melanomas tend to be small but these can grow to about 6 mm over time. If there are any suspicious marks, it is a good idea to observe them over a period of time to determine if there are any changes in their size or diameter.
Other Melanoma Symptoms
Another key skin cancer symptom to watch out for is Evolution. Cancerous moles change over a relatively short period of time, such as a few weeks or a few months. Watch out for spots that evolve quickly because this may indicate a cancerous growth.
The texture of the skin area and of the mole itself should also be considered. Cancerous areas may feel thick, lumpy or hard and the skin may begin to scale, flake or form a crust. The surrounding skin tissue may also appear red, with small patches of pigmentation around the mole. The skin may also feel itchy, or start to tingle and burn. It is also not uncommon for the area to ooze or bleed. Should this happen, the resulting wound would also fail to heal.