Skin Checks to Carry Out For the Early Detection of Melanoma

Posted on: 31 December 2018

Although there are different kinds of skin cancer that you could develop, it is essential to know that melanoma is considered one of the most dangerous types to be afflicted with. This kind of skin cancer is attributed to substantial sun damage, and it typically manifests as growths that look highly similar to moles. Due to this similarity, melanomas are often overlooked as innocuous moles, and this is what puts patients at risk of the cancer being caught late. Fortunately, when melanomas are detected early, there is a high likelihood of eradicating this disease with proper cancer treatment. So it is advisable for all Australians to know how to identify their presence. Here are essential skin checks to carry out for the early detection of melanoma.

Check for asymmetry in the mole

A standard, benign mole usually has a symmetrical shape, typically circular. Melanomas, conversely, have an irregular shape. The reason for this is that the mutated cells that make up the melanoma proliferate. Hence, they do not grow at an even pace, causing the asymmetrical shape. So if you find any asymmetrical moles on your body, it is important to see your dermatologist immediately.

Check for irregularities on the border

The second thing to look for when carrying out a skin check is the smoothness of the edge. As mentioned above, melanoma cells grow at an accelerated rate. Thus, just as they will make the entire shape of the mole appear asymmetrical, the borders of the mole will also have ragged edges. A smooth boundary characterises a regular mole, so you may want to take a magnifying glass to the mole to ascertain the appearance of the border, too.

Check for variations in colour

When your skin develops a normal growth, the mole should have a uniform colour. Take note, the mole may be darker than your skin tone, but the mole itself should be in the same hue. Since melanoma cells do not develop in unison, parts of the growth will have varying colours. Therefore, any signs of mixed shades in your growth should prompt you to have a medical professional carry out a comprehensive skin check.

Check for signs of evolution

Another red flag that should have you seeking a professional medical opinion is a growth that keeps changing. These changes can manifest in an assortment of ways, ranging from the hue, the shape and the diameter of the growth. When you first notice these growths, take pictures on your smartphone for future referral. Any significant changes that indicate the growth is morphing should have you visit your doctor immediately.