A malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can develop from abnormal moles. Malignant melanoma symptoms have been closely linked to sun exposure and those who are diagnosed with this form of cancer are often people who have damaged skin through excessive or unprotected exposure to the sun.
Symptoms of malignant melanoma
Some of the most common malignant melanoma symptoms are changes in moles. The more moles that a person has, the greater their risk of suffering from malignant melanoma. It is therefore important to understand the normal appearance of moles and recognise potential symptoms of skin cancer.
The most likely changes to moles, when symptoms of skin cancer, include:
· Increase in the size and diameter of the mole
· A change in the shape of the mole
· The colour of the mole changing
· A bleeding mole ora mole that is dry and scabbed
· Persistent itching in the mole
· Painful moles
Researchers have studied moles and the symptoms of skin cancer thoroughly to determine that moles with 3 shades or more of brown or black are more likely to be cancerous.
Malignant melanomas can also be located under a finger or toenail and this discoloured lump may be harder to notice. Any dark spots or lumps that are found underneath a nail should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.
The above malignant melanoma symptoms can be found anywhere on the body, through areas that are regularly exposed to the sun are more likely to be at risk.
Who is most at risk of malignant melanomas?
Anyone who has excessive exposure to the sun or doesn’t protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays is at an increased risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer and malignant melanoma. There are also a number of other groups that are more likely to notice malignant melanoma symptoms. They include:
· Those who have previously been diagnosed with the disease
· Those who have a family history of skin cancer
· People with a lowered immunity have been found to have a greater likelihood of a malignant melanoma diagnosis.
· Those with lighter skin
· Those with more moles and freckles
· People with birthmarks
When should medical advice be sought?
It is important to seek medical advice for any symptom that may be suggestive of skin cancer. You are the best person to know your own skin and to recognise any changes and as such, you are well placed to assess potential risks.
Precancerous moles are very easy to treat and the prognosis is good. An early melanoma is almost always removed under local anaesthetic and can be cured in this way. Later diagnosis or postponing treatment can allow the melanoma to spread and reduces the outcome of a successful cure.