Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that affects the body in many ways. Usually first appearing as a new mole or skin growth, melanoma can spread deeper into the body if left untreated. How melanoma affects the body is a key question for newly diagnosed patients.
The first sign will be an atypical mole
In most cases, melanoma will develop from anew mole and in about 25% of cases, it will form from a pre-existing mole. The mole or spot will typically exhibit some common symptoms:
· An increase in size
· Irregular borders
· A change in color from brown to black
· Irregular, rough or ulcerated surface
· Tends to bleed easily
· A spot that looks different from others
· Any ulcer or broken down part of the skin that does not heal within 4 weeks
· A spot that becomes raised overtime
If it moves deeper, other symptoms may appear
If a melanoma is not caught in its first two stages, while it’s still in the skin, it can spread to nearby lymph nodes, eventually moving into the organs. Once it has moved beyond the skin and latched onto other areas, it is known as metastasized melanoma and other physical symptoms may present themselves. Symptoms may include:
· Lymph nodes may become hard or swollen
· Hard lumps may appear in the skin
· Shortness of breath, chest pain or noisy breathing or a cough that won’t go away
· Pain in the liver (which is on the right side of the stomach)
· Achy bones
· A headache that won’t go away
· Bowel issues and constipation
· Extreme tiredness and fatigue
The most common places for melanoma metastasis to occur are the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, brain and abdomen. Cancer Research UK provides a break down for the specific symptoms that typically occur in each area.
Melanoma can affect the body in many different ways depending on the person and where and how the melanoma has formed. Prevent melanoma from forming by knowing the warning signs and taking steps to protect your skin from UV radiation.