Melanoma is a type of cancer that affects the skin. It is rare yet severe as it has the capability of spreading. Once it spreads, its treatment proves to be rather tricky. Melanoma occurs in four types: superficial spreading melanoma, Nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, and acral lentiginous melanoma. The causes of this cancer are still under research, though there are several risk factors that you should know.
The factors include a high number of moles, large freckles density, older age, personal or family history of melanoma, and others. Let’s look at some of the symptoms of melanoma skin cancer:
1. Redness or swelling
The standard color for benign moles is usually a single shade of brown. When in the early stages of melanoma, you may experience the moles becoming red or gradually developing blemishes that are reddish. The redness occurs due to the mole becoming irritated either because of rubbing or due to damage. Different shades of color may appear like white and blue as it continues growing.
2. Asymmetrical moles
The normal moles are symmetrical in shape. Melanoma appears asymmetrical, and if you draw a line in the middle of it, the two sides will not match. A pigment that spreads outside the border of a mole. While common moles tend to have smooth and even boundaries, melanoma is different. Melanoma tends to appear uneven, with the edges, appearing notched and uneven on a closer look. The pigment that goes beyond the typical border of the mole is an early sign of melanoma developing. The spreading of the color from the edge should be a warning sign.
3. Itchiness, tenderness or pain
The normal moles are either flat or raised on the skin. Moles that increase either due to swelling or inflammation may get irritated by the constant rubbing against your cloth. This irritation is a factor that can make them itchy and tender. While itching is not necessarily a sign of melanoma, a combination of itchiness, tenderness, pain, and other varied symptoms may signify melanoma. Even though the skin cancers are often painless, you must always look out for the moles that may appear in adulthood and report any of the cases to the dermatologist for examination and testing.
4. Oozing or bleeding from an existing mole
The surface of a mole is ordinarily smooth and soft. When this texture starts to change from the smooth and soft to scaly, you should seek a dermatologist’s opinion.
When in the early stages of melanoma, the moles become crusty and rough and start eroding and oozing. When the moles become ulcerated and start bleeding, the signs may be significant to an advanced nature.
5. Diameter of the mole
The width of a mole usually is lesser than that of the pencil eraser. When a mole grows to a bigger diameter that exceeds six millimetres, it should be a warning sign. As you check on the size of the mole, consider those lesions that appear much darker than the others.
The above symptoms are evident during the early stages of melanoma. You need to be able to differentiate between the normal mole and melanoma. Remember that melanoma can also start in different places apart from just the skin. There are cases where melanoma begins in the mouth, under a toenail or fingernail, and at times in the iris of the eye. Once you observe any changes that are out of the ordinary, you must seek the advice of a qualified dermatologist or skin doctor for effective diagnosis.