Melanoma: when to see a doctor

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Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. If left untreated, it can spread and become deadly. That’s why it’s important to know when it’s time to see a doctor and get treated.

When to see a doctor for melanoma?

A change in size, shape, color or texture could mean that the mole is cancerous or at risk for cancer. The first step is knowing what to look for.

Early warning signs of melanoma

Catching melanoma early requires regular self-exams.  Once a month, check your body from head-to-toe. When examining your body, pay attention to the shape and texture of your moles and blemishes. Melanoma will typically show up as:

·  a mole with indistinct, uneven and blurry borders
·  a mole that is asymmetrical and strangely shaped
·  a mole with multiple colors
·  a mole that is bigger than ¼ inch (about 6 mm) across
·  a mole that develops a crust, scab or starts to bleed
·  a mole that feels itchy or tender
·  a mole that gets bigger or swells
·  a mole that feels firm or raised in the center

When it comes to skin cancer, there is no time to wait. So if any of your moles or spots exhibit any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist immediately. Here is some further information with pictures.

When to see a doctor for melanoma symptoms

If you find it difficult to remember all of the symptoms, try using the ABCDE method.

The ABCDE checklist:

Dermatologists identify melanoma symptoms using the ABCDE method. This method shows you which signs to look out for when examining suspicious moles, spots or growths on your skin.

  • Asymmetrical – Melanomas are distinctly asymmetrical
  • Border – melanomas have uneven borders
  • Colours – melanomas will contain at least two distinct colours
  • Diameter – melanomas are bigger than ¼ inch across
  • Enlargement – melanomas grow in size over time

The evolution of your mole(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to diagnosing a melanoma. Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

Read more: ABCDE Melanoma self check

If you are still doubting, use SkinVision to detect the potential melanoma risk of your mole by taking a picture – and get an instant risk indication.

This article covers the most common, early warning signs of melanoma.

Learn about the advanced stage and less common symptoms of melanoma as well.

"The melanoma could have been on my arm for years"
Andrew Bartlett
United Kingdom
"The melanoma could have been on my arm for years"
Andrew Bartlett
United Kingdom

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