Most moles are perfectly harmless, but there are some that can get cancerous with the passage of time. Regular moles are flat or raised, with a smooth surface. These are also always same in colour. The moles that turn cancerous will most likely be shaped irregularly, can be quite large in size and will also have more than one colour.
Even though melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it is the one that causes the maximum number of skin cancer related deaths. It is the type of cancer that progresses from melanocytes, which are the cells in the skin that contain pigments. The most common signs of melanoma are a change in the size, shape or colour of moles. In some cases, the moles could also develop irregular edges, itches, oozes some fluid or even bleeds.
The ABCDE Signs To Watch Out For Melanoma
Here is a very easy way to watch out for signs that could signal a melanoma skin cancer threat. Referred to as the ABCDE sign list, check out what the letters say and what you should watch out for.
- A Is For Asymmetry
The Asymmetry sign means that the moles will not appear the same, even the same one. Most moles that are regular, healthy and not cancerous will have an even appearance overall, such as the same colour, texture and so on. However, if a mole appears to look different, such as half of the mole is one colour while the other half has a colour change, or a change in texture, it could signal melanoma.
- B Is For Border
The Border sign means that the edges, or the border of the mole has marked signs, which otherwise are not present in a healthy and regular mole. The edges may be irregular and ragged in appearance, or could be extremely blurred, as if they are merging into the skin.
- C Is For Colour
The Colour sign to spot melanoma means that the mole may not be of the same colour throughout. A regular and non-cancerous mole is usually of the same colour. But a mole that is turning cancerous and is showing the first signs of melanoma skin cancer will have significant colour change in itself. For instance, some parts of the mole will be of one colour, while the other parts of some patches in the mole may be of a different colour. The mole will usually have different shades of black or brown, or may even have visible patches in shades of pink, blue, red and even white.
- D Is For Diameter
The Diameter sign to spot melanoma means that the mole will have changes in its size, and diameter. The mole that may seem to be cancerous will be bigger than 6 millimetres across, which is about 1/4th inch. However, it is also possible that some moles that are cases of melanoma are smaller than this range of diameter.
- E Is For Evolving
The Evolving sign for spotting a melanoma skin cancer issue is that the mole will be changing in its size, colour or shape.
It is also possible that some cases of melanoma may not have all the signs mentioned here, so in case you spot any changes in your moles, make sure that you discuss it with your doctor.
More Warning Signs That Could Signal Melanoma
Here are some more warning signs you should keep in mind that could point towards a possibility of melanoma:
- You develop a sore that is not healing
- Swelling or redness near the border area of the mole
- The colour from the spot or mole on your skin seems to spread to your nearby skin, releasing pigmentation
- New sensations in areas surrounding the mole, such as tenderness, itching or pain
Tips To Keep In Mind To Prevent Skin Cancer
It is not impossible to prevent skin cancer, so make sure you keep these tips in mind before it is too late:
- Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun, and if you cannot avoid the sun, try and be outdoors at times when the sun rays are less harsh, such as before 11am and after 4pm.
- Cover up with clothes so that your skin is less exposed to sun as well as harmful chemicals and pollutants.
- Reduce the use of chemical based skin and hair care products and instead go for the ones that are more herbal in nature.
Remember that most cases of skin cancer and melanoma can be treated if diagnosed on time, and if treatment begins on time. Inform your doctor about any changes you see, and also do regular self-examination at home.