Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is most likely to spread as a faster rate. Some melanomas develop on normal skin or can grow from an existing mole. Changes in shape, color or diameter can be a sign of development. Melanoma can also develop in areas such as under the nail (finger or toe nails) which will appear as a dark brown or black streak. When caught early, melanoma can be treated with a near 100% cure rate. Surgery is the most common treatment for the removal of melanoma.
It is important to perform self-examinations to detect any change in skin shape and/or color that can be an early melanoma
The ABCDE examination can be a great guideline to what to look for while examining your skin for possible melanoma.
Asymmetric- Generally normal moles are symmetrically round in shape whereas cancer spots may appear uneven from one half to the other
Border- Borders will appear rough rather than smooth when detecting possible melanoma.
Color- Melanoma typically appears as a black, brown, tan or even white or blue in color.
Diameter- You want to look for a change in size of a mole. More than a quarter inch in diameter can be a warning sign of melanoma.
Evolving- Any mole that is changing in size, color or shape within a period of weeks or months may be a sign of melanoma.
To prevent future melanoma you want to
- Avoid getting any sunburns
-Covering yourself from the sun with clothing, hats.
-Using sunscreen on a daily basis with a sun protection factor (SPF) no lower than 15 and reapplying throughout the day.
-Avoiding the use of tanning beds/booths.