Is a mole, lesion or skin discoloration that’s causing you some concern? You may have wondered or started worrying about possibly having malignant melanoma. You may be wondering what does melanoma look like and what are the stages, signs and symptoms? Melanomas usually have uneven borders and do not have the same shape all around. They can start out as a mole and turn into a melanoma, which is a malignant, meaning a cancerous lesion.
One of the big reasons to catch melanoma early is that it is not confined to the area on your skin where it’s found and can spread fast. Many skin cancers are local only; they are not systemic, meaning they may not involve other parts of your body. But melanoma is different. It involves your whole body and your immune system so you want to catch it early.
Most moles don’t change. If yours has changed or is changing, then make sure to look at the following.
Generally to recognize a melanoma you want to follow the ABCDE rule. A for asymmetry – not even on all sides, B for Borders, C for color, D for diameter and E for evolving.
First of all take a close look at the lesion or mole with a magnifying glass. Don’t rely on your normal eyesight. Do the edges seem to be symmetrical – is it even on all sides? A normal mole is usually round or oval.
Are the borders smooth? Or are the edges uneven, ragged, blurred or notched? A normal mole has borders that are even.
Look at the coloring of your mole or lesion. Do you see any areas that have varied colors such as tinges of blue, red, white, tan, pink or gray? A normal mole is an even shade of brown. Or light brown or tan.
Size of the mole – more often than not a melanoma is larger than one quarter inch measured across or in diameter. Sometimes they can be smaller but most are more than one quarter inch. A normal mole will usually stay the same shape, size and diameter.
Evolving which is the newest term when recognizing malignant melanoma means that the lesion or mole has changed in its size, shape and or color over time. Usually a short period of time. Normal moles generally stay the same shape for years.
Make sure to check your body regularly for any signs of moles, lesions or malignant melanoma. Be sure to have someone check the areas of your body that you cannot see like your back.
So that’s how to tell and what melanoma looks like. If you think your lesion or mole could be a cancerous mole or malignant melanoma or see any changes that just don’t fit with a normal mole or any other of the signs and symptoms see your doctor as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait. Melanoma is systemic – meaning throughout your body so you want to get checked out as soon as possible.