What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early. It begins in the melanocytes, which are the cells that give skin its color. Melanoma usually appears as a growing or changing mole, but it can also develop on other parts of the body, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and under nails.
The most important sign to look for when diagnosing melanoma is an asymmetrical mole. Normal moles should be round or oval with even borders and one uniform color throughout. A melanoma often looks different from regular moles; it may have irregular edges and multiple colors within it.
Other signs of melanoma include:
Moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser
Moles that itch, bleed, or become crusty
New moles that appear after age 25
Unexplained sores that won't heal
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to call us for an evaluation. Early detection and treatment can save lives. Your doctor may perform a biopsy or imaging tests to determine if cancerous cells are present. Treatment options will depend on the stage and severity of the melanoma; some may require surgery to remove the tumor.
It is important to practice sun safety and regularly check your skin for signs of melanoma. Talk with your doctor about how often you should be examined for skin cancer. By staying vigilant about your own health and being aware of the signs of melanoma, you can help protect yourself from this deadly disease.
Now you are equipped with the knowledge about what to look for when identifying melanoma. Remember: early detection is key! If you have any concerns, be sure call us right away.