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:

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:

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.

References: 

Signs of Melanoma Skin Cancer | Symptoms of Melanoma

Melanoma – Symptoms and causes

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