An erroneous boundary: In outline, the margins are frequently jagged, serrated, or fuzzy. The pigment may extend into the skin around it. Color that is uneven Shades of black, brown, and tan are possible. There may also be white, gray, red, pink, or blue areas. These colors come from small blood vessels near the surface of the skin that are being invaded by melanocytes (melanin producing cells). As they produce melanin, these vessels become darker in color.
A tumor: It can be either raised or flat. If it is flat, it may not be visible until it begins to grow enough to cause problems such as bleeding or sensitivity to light. Most melanomas are dark colored. They may be smooth or have rough edges. Sometimes they are scaly. A melanoma can grow to be several inches across.
Bumps or lesions that do not go away: Often called moles, nevi, or birthmarks. Melanomas can occur at any age but they are most common among people who are African American, fair-skinned, or Caucasian with many ancestors. Those with many melanomas in their family history have an increased risk of getting melanomas themselves. Other factors that may increase your risk include having many moles, changing or unusual colors of your skin, having skin cancer already when you are born, and having severe sunburn as a child.
The margins are ragged, uneven, notched, or fuzzy. The hue is not uniform and may contain shades of brown or black, as well as patches of pink, red, white, or blue. The spot is more than 1/4 inch across—roughly the size of a pencil eraser—though melanomas can be smaller. They do not go away on their own.
Cancerous lesions should be removed by a doctor to prevent the spread of cancer. However, some people worry about what will happen to their healthy skin if they try to remove them themselves. There are two methods used in medicine to treat cancer: chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Both methods involve the use of chemicals to kill cancer cells. Neither method involves the removal of tissue. Healthy tissue is not affected by either treatment.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays from sources such as x-rays, ultraviolet light, protons, or electrons to destroy cancer cells. These treatments are usually given with precision so that only the targeted tissue is destroyed. Radiation therapy may be used alone or together with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. It is often used after other treatments have been tried but not worked.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs include alkylating agents, antimetabolites, anthracyclines, plant alkaloids, and topoisomerase inhibitors. Chemotherapy can be used alone or together with other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.
Melanoma early warning symptoms The edge is uneven or notched rather than smooth. Color: The mole is unevenly shaded or has black patches. The blemish is the size of a pencil eraser. Evolving or Elevating: The spot's size, shape, or texture is changing. Or there are more moles all over your body that have similar changes.
These signs may indicate melanoma has begun to develop. They include roughness of the skin, a dark coloration, and changes in the size of a pigmented mole. Early detection can help prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. It is important to visit a dermatologist for regular examinations even if you are not experiencing any symptoms.
Some common initial signs of melanoma include a new growth on the skin, especially if it's a large one; a change in the appearance of an existing lesion, such as becoming darker or losing its shape; or feeling pain when touching or rubbing the skin. If you experience any of these signs, see your doctor immediately.
Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in the United States. There are several types of skin cancers, including melanomas, which account for nearly 80 percent of deaths from this type of cancer. Other types include basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
A melanoma that is uneven (asymmetric) and has an irregular but discernible border. The melanoma is more than 20 millimeters in diameter (about the size of a postage stamp). A melanoma with uneven and scalloped edges that is blue-black in color. It is the result of a dysplastic nevus (the pink-tan region on the upper left). This type of melanoma tends to grow faster and be more likely to spread than a regular melanoma.
An asymmetrical melanoma can be seen as a growth on one side of the body. It may or may not have a distinct edge. These tumors tend to be larger than typical melanomas and may affect other areas of the body besides the skin. They are more likely than typical melanomas to spread to distant sites within the body via the bloodstream or lymph system.
Asymmetry is important to note because it can indicate how aggressively your melanoma will grow. Also, it can give doctors insight into possible metastasis, or spreading of the cancer.
If you have an asymmetrical melanoma, there are several options for treatment including surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Your doctor will consider many factors when deciding what approach to take most effective in treating your melanoma.
It is very important not to ignore any signs or symptoms that may appear after you have started treatment. If you experience pain or trouble breathing, get medical help immediately.