Melanoma, or malignant melanoma, is the most harmful form of skin cancer. Frequently, melanoma develops in a mole that would differ from others such that it changes, bleeds, or itches. Melanoma could also appear as a new dark spot on the skin. If you notice anything similar, consult your dermatologist immediately. If ignored, the melanoma could quickly spread to other parts of the body, which could be deadly. It is imperative to know the warning signs of melanoma.
Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma
Know to look for the ABCDE’s of melanoma when checking your skin!
One half of the mole or dark spot is unlike the other half
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border will be around the mole/dark spot
The color is varied from one area of the mole/dark spot to another. The mole/dark spot can have different shades of brown, black, tan, white, blue, or red.
When melanoma is diagnosed, the mole/dark spot is usually greater than 6 millimeters, which is the size of a pencil eraser.
A mole/dark spot that changes in shape, color, or size and/or looks different from other moles or dark spots
**** If you see a mole or a new dark spot on your skin that contains ANY of the ABCDE’s, schedule an appointment immediately!
Symptoms of melanoma may include bleeding, itching, and pain on and around the mole/dark spot on your skin.
Who Gets Melanoma?
While anyone can get melanoma, most people who are diagnosed have white skin. Still, people with brown and black skin can also get diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma is the most common cancer among 25-29 year olds. It is caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds. Like many cancers, some people are at a higher risk of getting melanoma.
The following are traits of people that have a higher risk of getting melanoma:
(Even higher risk if blonde or red hair; as well as green or blue eyes)
Skin that is sensitive to sunlight (easily sunburns)
Has large moles; unusual looking moles; more than 50 moles
Had bad sunburns in the past
Spent time tanning
Person in family had melanoma (it runs in the family)
Had another type of skin cancer
Immune system is weak
*** Be sure to check your skin monthly at home as well as scheduling regular examinations with your dermatologist.
If found early, it is 100% curable!
Go outside when the sun is less direct/intense.
This is typically before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
Wear sunscreen everyday
It is recommended to get an SPF of at least 30
Apply 20 minutes before heading outside
Reapply every 2 hours
Wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats
The eyes are just as susceptible to developing melanoma
***** “A tan is not a sign of good health. It is a sign that you have damaged your skin.” *****