Tens of thousands of new cases of melanoma are diagnosed every year. This is the deadliest type of skin cancer. It affects people of all ages and ethnical backgrounds. At the same time, when it is caught at the early stages of its development, it is curable. The 10-year survival rate is 95% when the condition is diagnosed at its first stage. That is why it is important for every person to know the main symptoms and how to recognise them.
The ABCDE Method
Malignant skin growths which look like moles are the main melanoma symptoms. However, they differ from benign growths in several ways. These differences are defined by the ABCDE method which is used for recognising cancerous growths. A is for asymmetry. The malignant growths are asymmetric. When you draw an imaginary line through the centre of the growth, the two parts on the sides differ.
B is for border. The dangerous growths typically have uneven border while the benign ones are perfectly round. C is for colour. The cancerous moles typically consist of two or more different colours, which can range from pale skin colour to black. D is for diameter. The suspicious growths are larger than 6 millimetres in diameter. They are typically bigger than a pencil eraser. E is for evolution. The malignant growths are constantly evolving. They change their size and their colour.
If a skin growth meets the ABCDE criteria, you should have it checked immediately. This can save your life.
The Satellite Method
This is another effective method for recognising the major melanoma symptoms. If a new mole grows in the area surrounding a bigger one, it may be a satellite. It is certainly a red flag. It may be a sign that the growth is spreading. That is why it must be checked.
The Ugly Duckling Method
This is another fairly easy method for recognising suspicious skin growth which may be malignant. A mole is an ugly duckling when it differs considerably from the ones around it and from the moles on your body as a whole. It may be bigger, darker or lighter, raised or irregularly shaped. In any case, you should have it examined by a dermatologist.
You should be familiar with the more disturbing melanoma symptoms as well. Typically, the malignant growths do not hurt. However, they may crust, ooze or bleed. These are signs of trouble which require immediate medical attention.
Overall, you should keep a close eye on your moles so that you can recognise the melanoma symptoms early on. Regular dermatological exams are also recommended.