Melanoma Symptoms

General Skin Cancer Symptoms

  • A sudden or progressive change in an pigmented lesion, such as an increase in size
  • The sudden appearance of a new mole-like growth
  • Moles that are asymmetrical-one half does not match the other
  • Moles with irregular borders, such as ragged, notched or blurred edges
  • Moles with uneven pigmentation, with varying shades of tan, brown or black
  • A mole greater in diameter than 6 millimeters-about the size of a pencil eraser

Regular check-ups
are important.

Melanoma is curable
if detected early.

Melanoma Symptoms

There are 4 types of melanoma—each with its own set of symptoms:

  • Superficial spreading melanoma: small lesion with irregular border and brown, red, white, blue or blue-black spots
  • Nodular melanoma: shiny, firm, dome-shaped brown, black or pink bump anywhere on skin
  • Acral lentiginous melanoma: irregular brown to black flat lesions on palms, soles, tips of fingers or toes; can also be a brown or black streak under a finger or toenail
  • Lentigo maligna melanoma: large brownish irregular spot with darker speckles on skin overexposed to sun, particularly the face or arms

Signs of Skin Cancer

The "ABCDE rule" is an easy guide to the common melanoma symptoms (see picture of skin cancer, top right). Be on the lookout and tell your doctor about any spots that match the following description :

  • A=ASYMMETRY: 1/2 of a mole or birthmark does not match the other 1/2
  • B=BORDER: the edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred
  • C=COLOR: the color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white or blue
  • D=DIAMETER: the spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger
  • E=EVOLUTION: Any mole that is changing in color, size, or shape
Melanoma Melanoma Melanoma Melanoma
Melanoma Melanoma E
  Images Courtesy of the American Cancer Society
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