So what are some of the signs and symptoms you should look out for?
Melanoma begins in the top layer of our skin called the epidermis. It occurs when melanocyte cells behave abnormally, growing excessively and taking over surrounding tissues. Melanomas can develop from existing moles or skin growths, but, more commonly, they will start as new growth.
In order to catch these growths early, it is important to perform regular skin checks to understand what’s normal for your body and to recognize any changes that may occur. Total body skin checks should be done once a month or at least every three months to ensure you don’t miss any new developments. Any new growths, changing or growing moles or any moles or lesions that itch, bleed or won’t heal are cause for concern.
A normal mole will have neat edges, a smooth or dome-like shape, be around ¼ inch (6 mm) in diameter and will stay the same shape, size or color over time.
Sometimes a mole will exhibit some of the warning signs of melanoma such as blurry edges or a diameter larger than 6 mm but it will be benign. This is called a dysplastic nevus or an irregular mole. People with multiple dysplastic nevi are often at greater risk for skin cancer, even if one particular mole is non-cancerous. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get any suspicious moles or marks checked out to be safe.
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
Source: Melanoma Research Foundation
To highlight these symptoms more, take a look at the examples of skin cancer pictures.
SkinVision builds upon the ABCDE method
SkinVision uses machine-learning technology in order to spot moles that could be at risk for melanoma, based on signs that come from the ABCDE-method. The app was designed to be an added layer of security when examining suspicious moles, on top of your manual efforts. By looking at the dimensions of the skin lesions and surrounding skin tissue, SkinVision identifies which growth patterns are irregular and typically signs of melanoma. It gives you a risk rating that helps you identify moles to track over time for changes.
After you perform a skin check looking for the ABCDE warning signs, take a picture of any suspicious moles with the SkinVision app and get a better idea of their risk. The app can also connect you with a doctor to examine any moles that are worrisome.
Download SkinVision and make it a part of your skin cancer prevention routine.
Read in more detail about melanoma