There are three distinct types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma is the deadliest of the three. It’s essential that you’re careful about your skin, even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions against the summer sun. During winter, you should examine your body at least once a month to look for any suspicious moles. Self-exams are vital for early detection, and early detection can save your life.
When it comes to detecting melanoma, the easiest way to conduct it is to remember the ABCDE rule. You must know what it is you’re searching for if you want to be able to detect any potential signs and symptoms. Skin growth are mostly harmless, but sometimes they’re not. People with more than 100 moles are more likely to develop melanoma. This is why it’s important for you to know your body well, so that you can spot out an unusual irregularity right away. These are the ABCDE signs of melanoma, if you suspect of having any of them, consult your doctor immediately.
The Warning Signs – ABCDE
The harmless moles are usually symmetrical. This means that if you were to draw a line through the middle of the moles, both sides would be approximately the same. If you draw a line through the middle of a mole that’s malignant, both halves will be different, i.e. asymmetrical, and could be a sign of melanoma.
Benign (harmless) moles have smooth and even edges, clearly visible and distinguishable from the skin. In contrast, malignant moles usually have uneven, scalloped or notched borders. It might even be hard to distinguish the border between the mole and the skin.
Benign moles usually have uniform pigmentation, most often it’s a single shade of brown. Moles with multiple shades of brown, tan or black might be malignant. They may also be in a single color but distributed unevenly on the entire surface. This too is potentially an early sign of melanoma.
Even If the previous signs don’t manifest, if the mole is bigger than 6mm in diameter, you should go to a dermatologist. Benign moles are usually smaller, while melanomas can grow much larger than 6 mm.
Benign moles usually don’t change over time. Any change regarding size, shape, color, or elevation are a potential cause for concern. If you notice any of these symptoms, like irritation, crusting or bleeding, you must contact your dermatologist immediately.
NOTE: The ABCDE Rule is in no way a substitute for your regular dermatologist exam, but it can help in detecting melanoma early. You should pay a visit to your dermatologist regularly, and if you notice anything suspicious schedule an appointment immediately!