Skin Cancer Facts: Signs that a Growth May be Melanoma

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide. Of the various forms of skin cancer, melanoma is known as the most serious because it can spread to other parts of the body.

It’s important to check your skin on your own and have it checked professionally in order to identify growths that may be melanoma.

Know Your ABCDEs of Melanoma

There are several signs that a growth may be melanoma, and remembering “ABCDE” may help.

A = Asymmetry

One half of the spot is unlike the other half.

B = Border

The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

C = Color

The spot has varying colors from one area to the next.

D = Diameter

Melanomas are usually – but not always – greater than 6 millimeters, which is about the size of a pencil eraser.

E = Evolving

The spot looks different than other spots on your body or changes over time in size, shape, or color.

Another sign of melanoma is a dark streak beneath a fingernail or toenail.

Skin Cancer in Children

Melanoma can look different in children than in adults.

It is very rare in children, but about 300 to 400 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Because it is rare, however, it’s often not recognized until the later stages, so it’s important for parents to be cognizant of the possibility.

The ABCDEs of melanoma still apply, but additional signs of melanoma in children include:

If you see a spot that is growing quickly and is now larger than other spots on your child’s skin, it’s time to have one of our board-certified dermatologists examine it.

Facts about Melanoma

The following statistics about melanoma reinforce the need to have your skin examined regularly:

Signs that a growth is melanoma differs from person to person, so it’s important to get new growths checked by one of our dermatologists in Commerce, West Bloomfield, Novi, or Berkley.  Depending on the stage, melanoma treatment may entail excision, radiation, use of medication, and/or chemotherapy.

Call us to make an appointment today for a full diagnosis.


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