Finding melanoma at an early stage is crucial; early detection can vastly increase your chances for cure.
Look for anything new, changing or unusual on both sun-exposed and sun-protected areas of the body. Melanomas commonly appear on the legs of women, and the number one place they develop on men is the trunk. Keep in mind, though, that melanomas can arise anywhere on the skin, even in areas where the sun doesn’t shine.
Most moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are harmless – but not always. The ABCDEs sign can help you detect melanoma.
The first five letters of the alphabet are a guide to help you recognize the warning signs of melanoma.
A is for Asymmetry. Most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle of the lesion, the two halves don’t match, so it looks different from a round to oval and symmetrical common mole.
B is for Border. Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders.
C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colors red, white or blue may also appear.
D is for Diameter or Dark. While it’s ideal to detect a melanoma when it is small, it’s a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm, or ¼ inch in diameter) or larger. Some experts say it is also important to look for any lesion, no matter what size, that is darker than others. Rare, amelanotic melanomas are colorless.
E is for Evolving. Any change in size, shape, color or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.
E is for Evolving (Before)
E is for Evolving (After)
Amelanotic melanomas are missing the dark pigment melanin that gives most moles their color. Amelanotic melanomas may be pinkish, reddish, white, the color of your skin or even clear and colorless, making them difficult to recognize.
A nodular melanoma developing within an amelanotic mel-ma in situ.
An example of a flat, amelanotic, superficial spreading melanoma.
Acral lentiginous melanoma, the most common form of melanoma found in people of color, often appears in hard-to-spot places, including under the fingernails or toenails, on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is the most common melanoma found in people of color.
Uveal melanoma is a malignant neoplasm of melanocyte cells growing inside the eyeball, in one of its layers.
Women are more susceptible to this disease, most often the diagnosis is made in patients older than 50 years.
Nail melanoma is one of the rarest forms of malignant neoplasms. It develops in the area of the nail bed, at first it looks like a dark or black spot or stripe, the size of which gradually increases, affecting the nail roller, the bone of the phalanx and its soft tissues.
The appearance of nail cancer is similar to a post-traumatic bruise. At the same time, the most frequent place of appearance is considered to be the thumb of the hand.