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Symptoms and Stages of Melanoma

Symptoms and Stages of Melanoma

The type of cancer that starts from melanocytes, cells responsible for producing melanin, is referred to as melanoma. This is the most severe kind of skin cancer, and it can affect the eyes, and rarely, the throat or the nose.

Here’s looking at the signs and stages of melanoma in detail.

Signs of melanoma
Learning about the various signs and stages of melanoma can go a long way in fighting the condition. Any unusual development of moles, lumps, markings, sores, or any changes noticed in any area of the skin can point towards melanoma development. The signs of melanoma that should not be ignored include: 

Change in shape, size, or color of moles
Moles are usually tan, brown, or black and appear like a spot on the skin. They can be either flat or raised from the skin, and the shape is usually oval or round. As far as the size is concerned, they are usually 6 mm or ¼ inches. Normally, humans are born with moles, or they develop during their childhood or early adulthood years. Therefore, if there is a new development of moles seen in later stages of life, they should be checked by a doctor. When a mole starts changing its shape, color, texture, or size, it can be a sign of melanoma.

The ABCDE rule of melanoma
Following the ABCDE guide can help in identifying the presence of melanoma easily. Make sure you keep a watch on these signs:

  • A stands for Asymmetry
    If one half of a birthmark or a mole does not match the other half, it can be a sign of melanoma.
  • B stands for Border
    Look for the edges of the moles. Blurred, irregular, or ragged edges of a mole can be a sign of melanoma.
  • C stands for Color
    The color of moles is not the same and can keep changing from brown to black and sometimes even have white, blue, or pink patches.
  • D stands for Diameter
    The mole becomes larger than 6 mm.
  • E stands for Evolving
    There is a change in the color, size, or shape of the mole.

Stages of melanoma
Once melanoma is diagnosed with the help of a biopsy, the next thing that the doctor will determine is the stage of the disease. There are four staged of skin disease.

  • Stage 0
    At this stage, cancer has not grown and spread. The tumor is still limited to the skin’s upper layer and has not gone down any deeper.
  • Stage I
    At this stage, the melanoma can be up to 2 mm thick. Evidence to show that cancer has spread to the lymph nodes at this stage is yet to be found.
  • Stage II
    There is no evidence that cancer has affected the lymph nodes or any distant sites at this stage.
  • Stage III
    At this stage, cancer might or might not have reached the lymph nodes. 
  • Stage IV
    At this stage, the melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes and more distant parts of the body.
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