The appearance of melanomas can vary widely from one to another. They develop in many difference colors, sizes and other unique visual characteristics. For this reason, trying to discern whether a mole is cancerous just by looking at it isn’t a reliable method. Even dermatologists can’t always tell the difference based solely on appearance.
However, there is one distinctive warning sign that (nearly) always identifies a melanoma: change. it’s the most important reason why performing a regular monthly skin self-examination is so vital. It’s just as significant to check any pre-existing skin growths for change as it is to look for new ones.
What to Look for
This is a list of skin growth changes to help learn what it is you should be looking for:
– An increase in its diameter or elevation
– A change in its shape; especially if that shape has become irregular
– A change in its color or shade
– Any change in its surface, including:
- How it feels to your touch
- How it reacts to light (reflects)
- Development of one or more bumps- even if they’re small
- An ulceration (liquid-like appearance, such as found in an open sore)
- Bleeding spontaneously or upon minor trauma
Any of these changes that continue for 3 weeks or longer need to be checked out. Though any bleeding or ulcerations should be brought to the immediate attention of a dermatologist.
Please note that this list is a helpful guide, but it’s not all-inclusive. Any changes to skin growths that are not found here should not be ignored.
We recently published a blog post that highlighted the differences between the two primary forms of melanoma, Radial and Nodular. As it’s relevant to this one, we’ll re-post it. To read it, please click HERE.
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