How Do You Identify Melanoma?


Quick Answer

Melanoma can be identified by observing the mole on the skin, which is normally unusual and non-uniform. The mole tends to have an odd shape, uneven border and different colors, states the American Academy of Dermatology. In the early stages, it may not cause any symptoms, but sometimes the mole may itch, bleed or feel painful.

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Full Answer

Many melanomas have signs and symptoms that can be observed, but not all. There are different types of melanoma and each type can appear differently. One type can appear as a black or brown streak beneath a nail. Melanoma also can appear like a bruise that is hard to clear up, states the American Academy of Dermatology.

Melanoma develops in the melanin-producing cells called melanocytes. Most cells still produce melaninin even after being affected, so the moles are usually black or brown. In cases where the cells do not produce melanini, the moles can be tan, pink or even white. Common areas where melanoma develops include on the trunk, legs, neck and face.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, but it can be treated successfully if it's noticed early enough, states Mayo Clinic. It can also occur in the eyes. Doctors are not sure about its cause, but tanning lamps and beds or ultraviolet radiation exposure increases the risk of getting this condition.

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