Cancerous Moles Early Signs

Skin cancer is fast becoming a leading cause of death. Fortunately, it is easy to prevent and to treat, especially if detected early. One type of skin cancer, called melanoma, is particularly deadly because it has the potential to spread to the rest of the body. It is common among young people who are often exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.

Cancerous moles early signs can be easy to detect if you know what they look like. These tumors develop in cells called melanocytes, which produce the skin pigment in the bottom layer of the skin (epidermis). Melanomas resemble moles and some originate from moles. Most melanomas are brown or black, but others can be tan, pink, red, blue,purple, or white. If treated early, these tumors are curable, so it is important to recognize them.

How to Identify Cancerous Moles

The most important cancerous moles early signs include changes in size, shape, and color. Dermatologists use an easy code to remember the signs of melanoma:

  • A for Asymmetry
  • B for Border
  • C for Color
  • D for Diameter
  • E for Evolving

Asymmetry

An asymmetrical mole will have two halves that do not look alike. If you draw a line in the middle of the mole, the edges of each half do not match perfectly. This happens because the cells on one side grow faster than those on the other half. Cancer cells grow more rapidly than normal cells, and tend to create an irregular pattern.

Border

A normal mole has well-defined borders and shape. It is distinct from the surrounding skin. If the mole’s border is fuzzy and has color outside its lines, it could be a warning sign that it is cancerous. Borders that are blurred or ragged edges are signs of uncontrolled cell growth.

Color

Normal moles can come in a variety of colors, ranging from tan to black. However, they usually have a solid color throughout the mole. On the other hand, cancerous moles early signs include tumors with various colors likewhite, gray, black, red, or blue in the same mole.

Diameter

A normal mole usually measures about 6 mm (¼ inch) or smaller —roughly about the size of your pencil eraser. Watch out for bigger moles or moles that continue growing larger.

Evolving

Normally, a mole stays the same throughout life. If you notice that your mole is changing or evolving, like becoming red, developing scales, oozing or bleeding, have it checked for early signs of cancerous moles.

Cancerous Moles Early Signs and Symptoms

After learning about differentiate cancerous moles from normal ones, you should also take note of their early signs and symptoms, which include itching, bleeding and pain. However, not all melanomas are the same. Some are quite unusual and may even appear under your toenail or fingernail, or they may just manifest as non-healing bruises on the skin.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are different types of skin cancer. It is important to distinguish each one because they type of cancer you have affects your choice of treatment and the outlook or prognosis of the disease.

Basal and Squamous Cell Cancer

These tumors develop in exposed areas of the skin, such as on the head, the neck, and the arms, although they can generally occur anywhere. They are quite common but very treatable.

Melanoma

This is a much less common type of cancer, but is more serious. The tumor is usually black or brown, but can also appear tan, pink, or white.

Lymphoma of the Skin

This type of cancer develops in the body's immune system. Skin lymphomas (also called cutaneous lymphomas) are quite rare.

How Are Cancerous Moles Treated?

Melanomas are treated by surgery only. It involves removing the tumor plus 1 centimeter of normal tissue around it. However, bigger and more advanced tumors require more extensive surgery depending on the tumor’s thickness, location and your age, etc., including the removal of lymph nodes nearby. In addition, chemotherapy and immunotherapy may be used to control the disease from spreading to other parts of the body.

Can I Prevent Cancerous Moles?

  1. Reduce sun exposure
  • Avoid overexposure to the sun by wearing tightly woven clothing, hats and waterproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 liberally to your skin and re-apply when staying out in the sun
  • Seek shade whenever you are outdoors
  • Avoid intentional sun-tanning or using tanning booths
  1. Get your skin checked regularly for cancerous moles early signs
  • Get skin cancer screening in your local clinic annually, especially if you have a family history of the disease
  • Examine your skin from head to toe every month and pay careful attention to suspicious new growths
  • If you have abnormal moles, observe them regularly for any changes
 
 
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