Artificial radiation from sun lamps and tanning booths
These factors increase your chance of developing melanoma:
Certain types of moles called dysplastic nevi, or atypical moles (which look similar to melanoma)
Large dysplastic nevi present at birth
Age: early adulthood, later in life
Red or blonde hair
Family members with melanoma
Excessive skin exposure to the sun without protective clothing or sunscreen
Suppressed immune system
Melanomas are not usually painful. At first they often have no symptoms. The first sign is often a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of an existing mole. They may also appear as a new, dark, discolored, or abnormal mole. Remember that most people have moles. Almost all moles are benign.
The following are signs that a mole may be a melanoma:
Uneven shape—one half does not match the shape of the other half
Ragged edges—ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular; pigment may spread into surrounding skin
Uneven color—color is uneven with shades of black, brown or tan, and possibly even white, gray, pink, red, or blue
Change in size—usually growing larger; usually larger than the eraser of a pencil (5 mm or ¼ inch)
Change in texture—may begin to have fine scales; may become hard or lumpy in advanced cases
Bleeding—may start to itch or, it may ooze or bleed in more advanced cases
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will look at your skin and moles. A
will be taken of certain. Other moles will be watched over time.
The doctor may also examine lymph nodes. They may be in the groin, underarm, neck, or areas near the suspicious mole. Enlarged lymph nodes may suggest the spread of melanoma. The doctor may need to remove a sample of lymph node tissue to test for cancer cells.
Once melanoma is found, tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread. Treatment depends on whether the cancer has spread.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a