If you are in a high-risk group for skin cancer or have ever been treated for some form of the disease, you should familiarize yourself with how skin cancers look. Examine your skin from head to toe every few months, using a full-length mirror and hand mirror to check your mouth, nose, scalp, palms, soles, backs of ears, genital area, and between the buttocks. Cover every inch of skin and pay special attention to moles and sites of previous skin cancer. If you find a suspicious growth, have it examined by your dermatologist.
After your doctor says you have melanoma skin cancer, your first question is probably going to be: Has it spread?
Your doctor will do tests to find out if it has moved, or “metastasized,” deeper within your skin or to other parts of your body.
There are some possible clues in the lab report your doctor got when you first got your melanoma diagnosis. If the melanoma is less than 1 millimeter thick, it’s less likely to have spread than a thicker one. The report might also mention how quickly the...
Any change in size, color, shape, or texture of a mole or other skin growth
An open or inflamed skin wound that won't heal
Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may appear as:
A change in an existing mole
A small, dark, multicolored spot with irregular borders -- either elevated or flat -- that may bleed and form a scab
A cluster of shiny, firm, dark bumps
A mole larger than a pencil eraser
An easy way to remember the signs of melanoma is the ABCDEs of melanoma: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, changes in Color, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, Evolution of a mole's characteristics, be it size, shape, color, elevation, bleeding, itching, or crusting.