What are the symptoms
The first melanoma symptoms that are apparent for most people who are diagnosed with the condition are changes in moles. The more moles a person has, the greater their risk of suffering from melanoma.
It is therefore important to understand the normal appearance of moles and recognise potential symptoms of skin cancer. To understand what potential melanoma symptoms look like though, it is first important to have an understanding of what defines a healthy mole.
Most moles are harmless. A normal mole is generally colored evenly (brown, black or tan), and are less than 6 mm in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser). They can be flat or raised, and generally do not change over time.
Symptoms of melanoma
- Increase in the size and diameter of the mole
- A change in the shape of the mole – if the shape is asymmetrical this may indicate a higher risk of being/becoming cancerous
- A change in the colour of the mole
- A bleeding mole or a mole that is dry and scabbed
- Persistent itching in the mole
- Painful moles
- Sores that do not heal
- Pigment, redness or swelling that spreads outside the border of a spot to the surrounding skin
- Changes in texture, or scales, oozing or bleeding from an existing mole
- Blurry vision or partial loss of sight, or dark spots in the iris
Research has shown that moles with 3 shades or more of brown or black are more likely to be cancerous.
Because cancer symptoms vary—and not all melanomas develop from moles—it is important to discuss new or unusual skin growths with your doctor.
Malignant melanomas can also be located under a finger or toenail and this discoloured lump may be harder to notice. Any persistent 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.
Read more: Internal Melanoma Symptoms
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
Read more: Malignant Melanoma Symptoms
When should medical advice be sought?
It is important to seek medical advice for any symptom that may be suggestive of skin cancer. SkinVision is a clinically validated solution for indicating the risk of a mole becoming cancerous, you can download it here.
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.
How SkinVision can help you!
SkinVision enables you to check your skin spots for signs of skin cancer within 30 seconds. Our algorithm is currently at the level of a specialist dermatologist.
In skin spots with a potential health risk, SkinVision provides feedback about the preferred next step to take.
SkinVision also enables you to store photos to keep track of changes over time, helping you to monitor your health in the long term.
The efficient and easy-to-use solution is available for iOS and Android and helps to make skin monitoring a simple routine.