Moles are considered a sign of beauty by many cultures of the world. But few know that they can also be the most deadly sign of skin cancer. Moles are brown or black colored spots or growths on the skin. They are generally harmless. A person with more than a hundred moles is at quite a high risk of melanoma. Melanoma is caused by a malignant tumor that originates in melanocytes, the cells which produce the skin pigment melanin responsible for the color of the skin, hair and eyes. Most melanomas are black or brown. However, some are skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In its advanced stage it can cause serious complications and even death. Melanoma is a lethal form of skin cancer which attacks the skin cells and eventually spreads to lymph nodes and other vital organs. Luckily, melanoma strikes with warning signs. That is the reason why it is so vital to know your skin and watch out for any changes in the moles on your body. When recognized and treated early, melanoma is completely curable. But, if not recognized in the early stages, this cancer, in the advanced stage, is hard to treat and can be terminal. Hence watch out for any warning signs before it is too late for a cure. Read on to know more about the warning signs of Melanoma.
Everyone is at some risk from this life threatening skin cancer. But you increase your chances of skin cancer due to certain factors like exposure to the sun, number of moles on the body, type of skin and family history.
- Melanoma begins in the melanocytes also known as skin cells that produce the skin pigment melanin. Black or brown bruise like lesions on the skin usually characterize the beginning of the disease.
- These bruises are in fact cancerous tumors that generally appear on the trunks of men and legs of women.
- Many people make the fatal mistake of confusing a melanoma with a mole. While a normal mole can develop at any time in a person’s life, the mole usually remains the same in size and shape, for life. Most moles are harmless, but a sudden change in size, shape or color of a mole might indicate melanoma.
- In order to distinguish between a mole and melanoma one should keep in mind the ABCD rule developed by the American Cancer Society. Here are some of the most common signs of melanoma.
Moles which are irregular or have uneven sides that do not match with the other moles are considered asymmetrical. These kinds of moles indicate melanoma.
Normal moles have smooth and clear borders. Melanomas have a tendency to have tattered and worn out edges.
The color of the malignant mole varies from patches of red to blue, purple or even white, whereas normal moles tend to be of a single color.
Normally, if the mole is larger than ¼ th of an inch in diameter, it is likely to be a sign of melanoma. Most normal moles are not larger than this diameter. But, of late, melanoma has been found to occur in smaller moles, too. Hence it is important to consider a mole’s color, border and symmetry and not just its size. Any evolving change in size, color, elevation or any other trait or symptoms such as itching, bleeding or crusting indicates warning signs.