Melanoma

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.

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