There are 4 types of melanoma. The most common type is superficial spreading melanoma which often occurs on the legs and starts to spread across the skin after a few months. Other types of nodular melanoma, occur on the upper body, lentigo meligna melanoma, which arises from a Hutchinson’s freckle, and acral lentiginous melanoma, which occurs on the hands, feet, or under the nails. This type of melanoma is more common in darker-skinned people. Untreated skin cancer can have severe complications and even death.
Symptoms of Melanoma
The big question is: how can I recognize a melanoma? Well, this can be difficult because melanoma can appear as moles, scaly patches, open sores, or raised bumps. Use the “ABCDE rule” when in doubt about whether to go to the professional healthcare provider with this spot.
- Asymmetry, does one side match the other?
- Border, are the edges smooth?
- Color, is the color mottled and uneven?
- Diameter, is the spot smaller than 0.6 mm (the top of a pencil eraser)?
- Evolving, is the spot new or changing in size, color, or shape?
For more information about other types of skin cancer and how to recognize these, read here!
Don’t Hesitate to Contact Your Healthcare Provider
Are the answers to A, B, and D no and/or the answers to C and E yes; then make sure to contact your professional healthcare provider, preferably a dermatologist, as soon as possible. In some cases, melanomas don’t fit the above-mentioned rule but still have doubts about a strange skin spot, don’t hesitate to have it examined as well. Better safe than sorry! Melanoma can also occur in body parts that have little to no sun exposure. These cancerous spots are called hidden melanomas, as most people don’t check them. Hidden melanoma may appear under a nail, in the mouth, digestive or urinary tract, genitals, or eyes. Continue reading on the next page and discover what you should do if you spotted an unusual spot on your skin and if there are ways to prevent melanoma.