Melanoma Symptoms and Treatment
Melanoma is the most serious form of
skin cancer. Although most types of skin cancer tend to be easily
treatable and non-life threatening, melanoma is much more serious and can easily spread to other parts of the
body if not treated quickly and effectively. This form of skin
cancer has the potential to be fatal if it progresses too far so it is tremendously important to recognize some
key melanoma symptoms in order to seek immediate medical attention and treatment.
In order to help
identify early melanoma symptoms, it is very important to look for any changes in the size, shape or color of a
mole or other skin mark such as a birthmark. These changes may occur over a period ranging from several weeks to
a month. The changes noted are typically based on what is referred to as the ABCDE rule.
Asymmetry – This means that one half
of the mole or skin growth does not match the other half
Border irregularity – The edges of
the mole may be uneven or ragged.
Color – If the color of the mole or
skin growth is not consistent throughout, it may indicate a possible problem.
Be alert to moles which are larger
than 6 mm in diameter. If the mole started out smaller and
grew to this size or larger, seek immediate medical attention.
Evolution is the last
factor. If the mole or skin growth changes in size, shape,
and symptoms such as bleeding or itching then it is a good idea to have it checked into
Other early signs of
melanoma symptoms can include a thickening or raising of a mole which had been flush to the skin. In addition the surrounding skin may become red or swollen. And if the skin becomes itchy or tingling in spots this should be further
investigated by a trained medical professional.
If the condition
continues without treatment, the melanoma symptoms may include:
If these symptoms
indicate a potential problem, seek immediate medical diagnosis from a dermatologist. They are best trained to identify and diagnose the melanoma. The first thing to be done is to perform a physical inspection of the skin to
identify any areas of concern. If an area is noted, a biopsy of the
affected spot is typically taken.
If a positive diagnosis
is made, surgical removal of the mole is normally performed. If the
melanoma has been identified in the early stages, the majority of the cancer can be removed
surgically. Other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation
therapy may be employed to kill any remaining cancer cells which could not be removed
If the cancer has spread
beyond the affected mole or skin growth, then more extensive treatments would be required. This can include other surgical procedures and aggressive chemo or radiation
Unfortunately if the
cancer has progressed too far, the effectiveness of treatments may be limited and the emphasis would be on
controlling the spread of cancer and associated symptoms. In many
cases the long term prognosis may not be good so it is vitally important to stay alert to any changes in your
skin so that early detection, diagnosis, and treatment can occur and provide the best possible