What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a name for a type of skin cancer where the skin cells have started to multiply abnormally. The term is usually used when normal skin moles have started to invade the skin surrounding them and are now classed as cancer. These changes are often quite obvious if you know what to look for.
Symptoms of melanoma cancer
Doctors use a number of methods to check your skin moles for the possibility they have become cancerous. The most common is the ABCDE melanoma self-check method:
- Asymmetry – Is the mole a strange shape with two halves that do not match?
- Border – Are the edges ragged, blurred or notched?
- Colour – Is the mole more than one color or does it contain red, blue, black, pink or white parts?
- Diameter – Is the mole larger than 6mm across?
- Evolving – Is your mole changing? For example, is it growing, changing shape or changing color?
These very basic signs are a great starting point and something you can check for at home. But there are some more warning signs to look out for that may not be as common.
- A spot on your skin (not always a mole) that just doesn’t heal and seems to become constantly inflamed.
- The pigment of the skin surrounding the mole is spreading into the rest of the skin.
- You have swelling or redness around the area of the mole that is new.
- You are experiencing itchiness, tenderness or pain in the area of the mole or skin abnormality.
- Your mole has started to ooze, bleed or has become lumpy or bumpy.
There are certain types of melanoma that may develop without any outward symptoms at all. These can include nodular melanoma which grows beneath the skin, melanomas that are under the nail or in the eye where it may not be easily noticed and even melanoma that develops inside the body such as in the mouth.
As you can see, tracking your moles is the first step towards discovering the first symptoms of melanoma and this can include taking photos of new moles to see how they might develop. But most of all, don’t ignore any skin changes as the earlier you diagnose a melanoma the more likely it can be easily treated.
Read more on: Malignant melanoma: what is it?