Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin, but they are more likely to start on the trunk (chest and back) in men and on the legs in women. The neck and face are other common sites.
Symptoms and traits to look out for include: raised or flat shape, often with irregular shape and borders, sometimes on an existing or new mole. brown, black, tan, red, blue, and even white, often a darker shade of a person's normal skin tone. slow changes, often over the course of months or years.
The "ABCDE" rule is helpful in remembering the warning signs of melanoma:
- Asymmetry. The shape of one-half of the mole does not match the other.
- Border. The edges are ragged, notched, uneven, or blurred.
- Color. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. ...
- Diameter. ...
Melanoma may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop from or near an existing mole. It can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head, and neck.
Use the “ABCDE rule” to look for some of the common signs of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry. One part of a mole or birthmark doesn't match the other.
- Border. The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
- Color. ...
- Diameter. ...
Stage IA Melanoma: The melanoma tumor is less than 1.0 millimeter thick (less than the size of a sharpened pencil point) with or without ulceration (broken skin) when viewed under the microscope. Stage IB Melanoma: The melanoma tumor is more than 1.0 millimeter and less than 2.0 millimeters thick without ulceration.
The most common type of melanoma usually appears as a flat or barely raised lesion with irregular edges and different colours. Fifty per cent of these melanomas occur in preexisting moles.
You may lose your breath, have chest pain or noisy breathing or have a cough that won't go away. You may feel pain in your liver (the right side of your stomach) Your bones may feel achy. Headaches that won't go away.
Blood tests. Blood tests aren't used to diagnose melanoma, but some tests may be done before or during treatment, especially for more advanced melanomas. Doctors often test blood for levels of a substance called lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) before treatment.
Early warning signs of melanoma
It may look like an age spot, a bruise, a sore, a cyst, a scar or a dark line beneath your nail. You may not feel a melanoma, but there are times that it may itch, hurt or bleed.
In the case of melanoma, a painless mole may start getting tender, itchy, or painful. Other skin cancers generally do not hurt to touch until they have advanced to become large. The peculiar absence of pain in a skin sore or a rash often directs the diagnosis toward skin cancer.
Melanoma often contains shades of brown, black, or tan, but some can be red or pink, such as the one shown here.
“You could have melanoma for a long time before you realize it, because some types are not so obvious. Some aggressive forms, like nodular melanoma, grow fast, are visible and can hurt or bleed.” While certain groups may be at a higher risk for melanoma, anyone can get the disease.
Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.
Hypothesis-based, informal guidelines recommend treatment within 4–6 weeks. In this study, median surgical intervals varied significantly between clinics and departments, but nearly all were within a 6-week frame. Key words: melanoma, surgical interval, treatment time, melanoma survival, time factors.
Metastatic melanoma was once almost a death sentence, with a median survival of less than a year. Now, some patients are living for years, with a few out at more than 10 years.
Melanoma is less common than basal and squamous cell carcinoma, but it is far more dangerous. The biggest reason for this is its ability to spread rapidly to other organs if not treated early. Melanoma can put a patient's life at risk in as little as six weeks if left to grow untreated.
All melanomas have a diameter lower than 5 mm, with a mean of 3.7 mm (range 2.5–4.5 mm).
It may become hard or lumpy. The surface may ooze or bleed. Sometimes the melanoma is itchy, tender, or painful.
A dysplastic or atypical nevus is a benign (noncancerous) mole that is not a malignant melanoma (cancerous), but has an unusual appearance and/or microscopic features.
Crusting or scabbing can be a melanoma indicator. A scabbing mole may be especially worrisome if it also bleeds or is painful. So can other changes, including size, shape, color, or itching. Melanomas can scab because the cancer cells create changes in the structure and function of otherwise healthy cells.
Bumps that are cancerous are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. The mass will grow in size steadily over the weeks and months. Cancerous lumps that can be felt from the outside of your body can appear in the breast, testicle, or neck, but also in the arms and legs.
Melanoma lesions most often look like dark spots on the skin, but they can also be reddish colored and appear similar to a pimple. However, unlike pimples, melanoma lesions often have multiple different colors within them and are irregularly shaped.