- Melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are formed in melanocytes (cells that stain the skin).
- Different types of cancer can be caused in the skin.
- Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin .
- Unusual moles, sun exposure and health history can affect the risk of melanoma.
- Signs of melanoma include changes in the appearance of moles or pigmented areas.
- Tests to check the skin can be used to diagnose melanoma.
- Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.
- Squamous cells
- Basal cells
- Changes to existing moles
- New pigmentation or growth that looks abnormal on the skin.
The ABCDEs of melanoma
Help you identify the characteristics of abnormal moles, which may indicate warning signs of melanoma.
A is for asymmetrical shape: Most melanomas are asymmetric. If you draw a line in the middle of the lesion, the two halves will not match, so ordinary moles from round to oval and symmetrical will look different. Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two halves that look very different.
B is for Border: The borders of melanoma tend to be uneven and may have scallop-shaped or notched edges, while the borders of ordinary moles tend to be smoother and more uniform.
C is for changes in color: The multiple colors are a warning sign. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, while melanomas may have different shades of brown, tan, or black. As it grows, there may be red, white or blue.
D is for Diameter or Dark : Look for new growths in moles larger than 1/4 inch (about 6 mm).
E is for Evolving : Look for things that change over time, such as moles growing up or changing color or shape. Moles may also develop into new signs and symptoms, such as new itching or bleeding.
- Melanoma under a nail. Giant corneal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma that can occur under the nail or toenail. It can also be found on the palms or soles of the feet. It is more common in people of Asian descent, blacks and other people with dark skin.
- Melanoma in the mouth, digestive tract, urinary tract or vagina. Mucosal melanoma forms on the mucous membranes, which are located in the nose, mouth, esophagus, anus, urinary tract, and vagina. Mucosal melanomas are particularly difficult to detect because they can easily be mistaken for other, more common conditions.
- Melanoma in the eye. Ocular melanoma, also called ocular melanoma, most often occurs in the uvea, the layer below the white of the eye (sclera). Eye melanoma may cause vision changes and may be diagnosed during an eye exam.
What you can do
Check yourself: No matter how risky you are, check your skin from head to toe every month to detect potential skin cancer early. Note the growth or changes of existing moles or lesions. Learn how to check the skin here.
If in doubt, please check. Since melanoma can be very dangerous once it develops, please follow your instincts and see a doctor if you find something that seems incorrect.
Remember, although important, a monthly self-examination is not enough. Have a professional skin examination with your dermatologist at least once a year.
If you have melanoma, please contact your doctor regularly after treatment. Follow the schedule recommended by your doctor so that you can detect any recurrence as soon as possible.