Melanoma is one of the most serious skin cancers that we can get. Detecting melanoma early is crucial to an effective treatment plan and saving lives. The earlier melanoma is detected, the better the chances of cure and survival.
Cancer research data has shown that 1 in 35 males and 1 in 47 females will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer each year. With 4 in 10 people going on beach holidays each year, the incidences of melanoma are high, and so it is important to safeguard against potential causes and keep your skin and moles safe from melanoma.
How to Detect Melanoma
You must know how to detect melanoma so that you can identify any concerns early in case you need to visit a dermatologist for a professional mole check. In knowing how to do self mole checks and self-skin checks you can give yourself every opportunity to keep your moles and skin safe both during and after sun exposure.
These are the main melanoma checks you should do to stay on top of your skin safety:
Mole Checking Signs of Melanoma
The ABCDE test is a melanoma signifier that is used both during self mole checks and by dermatologists. The ABCDE mole checking chat looks at the following:
Asymmetry of a Mole
The majority of moles are asymmetrical (however, not all are). Usually, each side should be symmetrical for it to be a benign common mole.
Border of a Mole
Melanoma borders are uneven and may be jagged, while more common moles tend to be smoother round-edged moles.
Colour of a Mole
If a mole has multiple colours it can be a warning sign. This can range from brown to black and blue, white or red. This is a significant warning sign and you should get your moles checked by a dermatologist if you see this sign.
Diameter of a Mole
If the mole increases to a quarter of an inch it could be a warning sign that you have melanoma and it is growing in size. The darkness of such size moles can also play a factor and so this needs to be taken into consideration when checking your moles.
Evolution of a Mole
Has the mole changed in size, shape, colour or elevation recently? Is there bleeding or itching coming from this mole? How a mole evolves can also be a contributing factor to melanoma.
The Odd One Out
The odd one out is a way to detect melanoma by identifying a mole that stands out from the rest and is essentially identifying unusual looking moles that do not match your mole profile.
What Causes Melanoma
Melanoma is caused by malignant skin cells developing through overexposure to UV radiation that damages our skin cells. As the damage continues, our cells cannot fight against malignant cells enough to keep the malignant cells from increasing.
Sun exposure and sunbeds are the main causes of this due to the harmful UV rays penetrating the skin and damaging skin cells. Overexposure to such rays causes melasma-blotches where melanin accumulates more rapidly.
Avoiding these causes of melanoma skin cancer gives you a better chance of keeping your skin safe from this awful skin disease.
What to do if You Think You Have Melanoma
The first thing you should do is contact a doctor or visit a dermatologist to get your moles and skin checked. When it comes to skin cancer, you want peace of mind so swift action can either help determine if a mole is benign or identify early-stage melanoma and begin treatment to help you fight the skin disease.
Mole checks don’t take too long and there are other examination and identification techniques such as mole mapping and biopsy, which is something a dermatologist can do in line with an ABCDE check to ascertain whether or not a mole is benign.
Additionally, mole mapping can be carried out annually to keep moles in check and identify any changes to your moles over time. Mole mapping takes digital pictures of your mole-to-body profile and matches the pictures each time you get a mole map to identify any changes to your moles. This is a quicker way to identify potentially troublesome moles so that a dermatologist can have a further look into the specific mole and qualify if it’s benign or not.