Malignant melanoma, which starts out as a mole, is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, killing almost 10,000 people each year. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can be almost any color; skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanomas are caused mainly by intense UV exposure.
How can you tell if a mole is dangerous?
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.
What type of mole is cancerous?
Diameter: Cancerous moles can change in size, usually growing larger. If a mole becomes larger than 6 millimeters (one-quarter of an inch), it may be cancerous. Evolving: A change in the appearance of a mole over weeks or months may indicate that it is cancerous.
When should you get a mole checked out?
If you notice changes in a mole’s color or appearance, you should have a dermatologist evaluate it. You also should have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, appear scaly, or become tender or painful.
What is a high risk Mole?
Having more than 50 ordinary moles on your body indicates an increased risk of melanoma. Also, having an unusual type of mole increases the risk of melanoma. Known medically as dysplastic nevi, these tend to be larger than normal moles and have irregular borders and a mixture of colors. A family history of melanoma.
What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?
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.
What does a cancerous mole feel like?
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.
How long can you have a cancerous mole?
Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.
When should I worry about a cancerous mole?
Be on the lookout: See your dermatologist if you notice any of the ABCDE melanoma warning signs or any of the following changes on your skin: Itching, bleeding, crusting, oozing or swelling of a skin lesion. Changes in color, size, shape, texture or elevation of a skin lesion.
What does Stage 1 melanoma mean?
In Stage I melanoma, the cancer cells are in both the first and second layers of the skin—the epidermis and the dermis. A melanoma tumor is considered Stage I if it is up to 2 mm thick, and it may or may not have ulceration. There is no evidence the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or distant sites (metastasis).
What does a infected mole look like?
An inflamed mole (nevus) can become more red in appearance and begin to swell, making it look like it has grown. This tends to occur from irritation when healthy moles are rubbed or injured, such as with habits like shaving.
Do cancerous moles hurt?
Causes of a painful mole. Even though pain can be a symptom of cancer, many cancerous moles don’t cause pain. So cancer isn’t a likely cause for a mole that’s sore or tender.
What causes a mole to grow?
Moles are caused when cells in the skin (melanocytes) grow in clusters or clumps. Melanocytes are distributed throughout your skin and produce melanin, the natural pigment that gives your skin its color.
Is melanoma always black?
Melanoma often contains shades of brown, black, or tan, but some can be red or pink, such as the one shown here.
Can a 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).
What a normal mole looks like?
Normal moles are symmetrical, small, and flat. They have a smooth border and consistent coloration. Melanomas are often asymmetrical, larger than 6mm, and elevated. They have irregular borders and inconsistent coloring.