Periodic self-examinations aid in recognition of any new or developing lesion. Become familiar with your skin and your own pattern of moles, freckles and beauty marks. Make sure to look at your entire body every month or two. Watch for change in the number, size, shape and color of pigmented areas. Warning signs to look for include:
- A skin lesion that bleeds easily
- A lesion that does not heal
- Oozing or crusting spots in a lesion
- Appearance of a scar-like lesion with having injured the area
- Irregular blood vessels in or around the lesion
- A lesion with a central depression (a small “dip” in the lesion)
REMEMBER THE ABC'S OF MELANOMA:
Asymmetry can be assessed by comparing one half of the growth to
the other half to determine if the halves are equal in size. Unequal or
asymmetric moles are suspicious.
If the mole's border is irregular, notched, scalloped, or indistinct, it is more
likely to be cancerous (or precancerous) and is thus
Variation of color (e.g., more than one color or shade) within
a mole is a suspicious finding. Different shades of browns, blues, reds, whites,
and blacks are all concerning.
Any mole that has a diameter larger than a pencil's eraser in
size (> 6 mm) should be considered suspicious.
If a mole is elevated, or raised from of the skin, it should be
Other Danger Signs of Malignant Melanoma
• Change in color, especially multiple shades of dark brown or black; red, white
• Change or spreading of color from the edge of the mole into
• Change in size, especially sudden or continuous
• Change in shape, especially development of irregular margins
• Change in elevation, especially sudden elevation of a
previously flat mole.
• Change in the surface texture of a mole, especially scaliness,
erosion, oozing, crusting, ulceration, or bleeding.
• Change in the the surrounding skin, especially redness,
swelling, or new moles.
• Change in sensation, especially itching, tenderness, or
Basically, any mole or growth that is CHANGING needs to be
checked by a doctor.