Melanoma symptoms are a set of warning signs that occur in persons who have developed the skin cancer known as Malignant Melanoma.
Malignant Melanoma occurs most commonly in people of caucasian origin, especially fair haired and light eyed persons. People with a long history of sun exposure, whether work related or because of tanning, or with close relatives with melanoma are also at higher risk of developing it. Melanoma symptoms, however, are fairly noticeable. A little alertness on the part of the patient goes a long way in detecting the cancer and starting treatment.
The sites where Melanoma symptoms are most commonly seen include-
In males – The skin of the back and forearms
In women – The skin of the legs and forearms.
These correspond with areas of prolonged sun exposure in most people. Occasionally melanoma symptoms will be noticed around the lips, on fingernails, toes, or genitals.
The most significant of Melanoma symptoms
The most significant of Melanoma symptoms is the appearance of a mole, or a change in the character of a pre existing mole or naevus.
For example, a mole you’ve had as long as you can remember, or a larger pigmented birthmark, can start showing changes like the following:
- Irregular growth, more on one side or advancing from one side onto the normal skin
- Irregular borders because of this growth
- Change in color of the mole, which may be overall darkening or appearance of multiple shades in different parts of the mole. These include variations of tan, brown, black, and sometimes pink, red or even dark blue.
- Change in size, increase in the dimensions which could be sudden or slower in progression. Melanoma symptoms generally present as the slower forms, but some forms of melanoma like Nodular Melanoma can grow faster, turning into bluish black lumpy growths.
- Itching, constant irritation and redness
Easy Melanoma Symptoms Checking
For quick referance, melanoma symptoms can be abbreviated as ABCDEFG
A – Asymmetry
B – Borders
C – Colors
D – Diameter (more than 7mm generally)
E – Evolving and/or elevated
F- Firm to touch
Nonspecific melanoma symptoms include malaise, general weakness, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
These symptoms are all associated with the primary melanoma. Sometimes, the primary may be small enough to be missed or may have been overlooked. In this situation, symptoms will be seen because of the secondaries after metastasis.
Secondaries most commonly spread to the brain, liver, bones, abdomen and lymph nodes.
Melanoma is entirely curable in its early stages by simple excision. Good understanding and application of the knowledge of melanoma symptoms goes a long way in catching the cancer early.