“Normal” moles can appear flat or raised or may begin flat and become raised over time. The surface is typically smooth. Moles that may have changed into skin cancer are often irregularly shaped, contain many colors, and are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Most moles develop in youth or young adulthood.
Redness or new swelling beyond the border of a mole. Color that spreads from the border of a spot into surrounding skin. Itching, pain, or tenderness in an area that doesn’t go away or goes away then comes back. Changes in the surface of a mole: oozing, scaliness, bleeding, or the appearance of a lump or bump.
Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders. C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black.
A visual check of your skin only finds moles that may be cancer. It can ‘t tell you for sure that you have it. The only way to diagnose the condition is with a test called a biopsy.
The most common type of melanoma usually appears as a flat or barely raised lesion with irregular edges and different colours. Fifty per cent of these melanomas occur in preexisting moles.
Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.
There are many reasons why moles can be raised, the main one being a healthy benign intradermal mole, which can be genetic, long standing, soft and sometimes wobbly to touch. They may lose colour or get darker with age. These types of moles should be monitored for drastic change, but generally aren’t cause for concern.
How long can you have melanoma and not know it? It depends on the type of melanoma. For example, nodular melanoma grows rapidly over a matter of weeks, while a radial melanoma can slowly spread over the span of a decade. Like a cavity, a melanoma may grow for years before producing any significant symptoms.
Scratching off a mole will probably cause some bleeding, but should not require medical treatment. However, if a mole continues to bleed, it should be examined by a dermatologist. Note however, that a growth on the skin that continually bleeds may be a warning sign of skin cancer.
Lab testing showed that more than 90 percent of biopsied moles were completely removed by using the single procedure, with 11 ( 7 percent ) diagnosed as melanoma, one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer.
Also, when melanoma develops in an existing mole, the texture of the mole may change and become hard or lumpy. The skin lesion may feel different and may itch, ooze, or bleed, but a melanoma skin lesion usually does not cause pain.
Melanoma is a very serious skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells that produce pigment, the substance in skin that produces color. Melanomas may appear suddenly and without warning. They are found most frequently on the face and neck, upper back and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body.
Everyone should check their moles, at least every 3 months. But if you have developed new moles, or a close relative has a history of melanoma, you should examine your body once a month.
Malignant melanoma, which starts out as a mole, is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, killing almost 10,000 people each year.
Can a common mole turn into melanoma? Yes, but a common mole rarely turns into melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. Although common moles are not cancerous, people who have more than 50 common moles have an increased chance of developing melanoma (1).