Melanoma may not be the most common type of skin cancer, but it is the deadliest. It’s crucial to detect the signs of melanoma as early in its development as possible. This is because early, aggressive treatment increases the chances of achieving a favorable outcome. It’s recommended that all adults schedule a skin cancer screening with a dermatologist at least once yearly. In between regular screenings, you can keep an eye out for the following signs of melanoma. Asymmetry In most—but not all—cases, melanomas form an asymmetrical pattern. If you were to picture a line drawn down the middle of a mole or lesion, the two halves wouldn’t match each other. Uneven Border Common moles tend to feature regular, even, and smooth borders. In contrast, melanomas tend to feature uneven borders. They may appear scalloped or notched. Color A common mole will typically feature one uniform shade of brown. In contrast, melanomas often feature multiple colors. Early in its growth, a melanoma may have shades of black, brown, and tan. Later on, it may develop shades of white, red, and blue. Any mole that is darker or paler than a typical mole should be examined by a dermatologist. Diameter Ideally, patients or their dermatologist will detect melanomas while they are still small. However, if a melanoma is allowed to grow, it will likely have a larger diameter than common moles. If a lesion or mole is about the size of a pencil eraser or larger, it needs to be checked out right away. Evolution It’s important to note that a significant percentage of melanomas develop from common moles that were originally benign. Be on the lookout for signs that a pre-existing spot is evolving. Any changes in color, size, shape, or texture could be a red flag. In addition, you should visit a dermatologist if a mole or lesion suddenly begins itching, bleeding, or crusting over. If you’ve noticed anything suspicious on your skin, you can call Aesthetica Medical Spa- Dermatology Center of Steamboat Springs to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. This clinic offers Mohs skin cancer surgery, as well as a number of aesthetic dermatology services. You can reach their office in Steamboat Springs, CO, at (970) 871-4811.
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