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Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC Blog

What Are the Beginning Signs of Melanoma?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 23, 2021 9:47:02 AM / by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

As we get older, we should expect to see our bodies change. However, it is essential to realize that specific changes that could be warning signs of melanoma. Changes like abnormal moles or blemishes can be difficult to find, but they are necessary to pay attention to. Keeping track of your skin’s appearance and quickly catching differences is vital to maintaining your skin's health. 

Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. However, prevention and early detection are critical for successful inhibition and treatment. Read on to learn more about what melanoma is, how it can be identified, forms of treatment, prevention and more.

WHAT IS MELANOMA?

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that generally starts in the melanocytes skin cell, which is the cell that controls pigmentation.

Melanoma can look different depending on whether the cells still produce melanin. If the cells continue making melanin, the melanoma tumor will look brown or black. However, if the cells are no longer making melanin, the tumor can appear pink, tan or white.

Although melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, it is not the only kind. 

WHAT MOLES AND BLEMISHES ARE NORMAL?

Most of us have probably found moles on our bodies throughout our entire lives, beginning in childhood. A normal mole appears black, brown or tan and is a consistent color with a distinct border. Normal moles are usually smaller than ¼ of an inch. Over time, it is customary to develop new moles or for some to disappear.

WHAT KIND OF CHANGES SHOULD I LOOK FOR?

While most moles are harmless and unchanging, you should look for specific warning signs. For example, if a mole begins to change in size, shape or color, this could signify an abnormal mole. You can also check to see if a mole looks similar or different from the other markings on your body. If it appears different, it could be a warning sign. 

Look out for warning signs such as:

  • An additional mole you’ve never seen before
  • A new dark spot on your skin
  • A mole that has increased in size or changed shape
  • Or any change in coloration on the skin

Any of these changes can be cause for concern, and you should seek medical advice. These lesions can occur anywhere on the body. For males, early signs of melanoma can appear on the chest and back. For females, signs often begin on the legs.

If you’re having trouble deciphering the differences between the markings on your body, consider these tools: 

  • A for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • B for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
  • C for Color: The color is not the same all over. It may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes, patches of pink, red, white or blue.
  • D for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser). Although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this size.
  • E for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape or color.

WHAT OTHER SIGNS COULD BE MELANOMA?

While the ABCDE approach is helpful, it might not be accurate for all forms and signs of melanoma. If you have a sore that won’t heal, pigments that leave the border of certain skin areas, redness or swelling of a mole, itchiness or pain, a change in the texture of a mole (like oozing or scaliness), you should visit your dermatologist immediately.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M UNSURE ABOUT A SPOT?

If you have any concerns or questions about spots on your body, you should talk to your dermatologist as soon as possible. It’s essential to regularly check yourself for changes in your skin and record these changes, what they look like and when they occur. Even if you’re unsure, show the doctor anyway! A dermatologist can help you understand what changes are regular and what you should be more cautious about. Together, you and your dermatologist can work to form a treatment plan that is right for you. 

VISIT YOUR DERMATOLOGIST | THE DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH, PLLC

Signs and symptoms of melanoma can be difficult to catch, but the Dermatology Center for Skin Health is here to help. Make an appointment today to understand how you can be more cautious and aware of your skin. If you have any questions about your skin or changes you may have noticed, give us a call at (304) 598-3888 or click here. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

References: 

Signs of Melanoma Skin Cancer | Symptoms of Melanoma

Melanoma - Symptoms and causes

Topics: Skin Cancer, skin health, melanoma

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Written by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Our priority is to deliver complete, compassionate care to our patients while educating and assisting them as they make care decisions regarding the health and beauty of their skin.