The initial and most common signs of melanoma are irregular spots on the skin that don’t look like any other spots like moles. It could be a growth on a spot you’ve had for ages or a new one that seems to grow rapidly.
The cancer specialists at Premier Oncology are ready to help you with any suspicious moles or spots you may have noticed recently that matches the descriptions here. Melanoma is a serious form of cancer but if caught early, it can be a lot easier to treat with a good chance at a healthy recovery.
Do U C Melanoma?
As is the case with most cancers, melanoma materialises differently in different people. “Do U C Melanoma” is a common mnemonic to help remember the signs to look out for when trying to examine yourself or a friend/family member for melanoma. In some cases, this form of skin cancer may not show all the signs, and some that show all of them. Thus it is necessary to remember all the signs with ‘Do U C Melanoma’.
D Is for Different (Ugly Duckling Sign)
When you are assessing a spot, check if the spot in question is different or similar to other moles or spots on the body. The sign that the spot is different from others is popularly called the ‘ugly duckling sign’.
U Is for Uneven
Another important sign to look out for is whether the shape of the spot is uneven, and to note what the color and texture of that area are. Spots related to melanoma often occur with irregular shapes, uneven texture, and distinct color, so this is an important sign for which to look out.
C Is for Changing
This is a clear sign of melanoma: the spots often change in size, shape, or color over time. The time frame may vary from days or weeks to months or years, but it’s necessary to notice these changes when assessing a spot for melanoma.
A large number of melanomas can be diagnosed in the early stages using the ‘Do U C Melanoma’ mnemonic. More advanced melanomas exhibit different signs. In some cases, the spots in question could get lumpy, bleed, or even ooze. There is varying pain experienced when these spots are touched.
Melanoma can develop anywhere – from the soles of your feet or palms of your hands to under the nails. When it forms under the nails of the fingers or toes, it could initially appear as just fungus or blood. Such a rare form of melanoma is called Acral Lentiginous Melanoma. This could affect people of all ethnicities and skin colors.
Other rare cases show melanoma spots that exhibit a color other than brown or black. The spot could show pinkish, reddish, or purplish skin color. This type of spot, that appears in different colors are known as Amelanotic Melanoma, as they lack the dark pigment melanin that gives most common melanomas their dark color. These are often discovered at late stages as the spots are easily overlooked, and melanomas that contain the melanin pigment are more noticeable. This is why it is crucial to pay attention to your skin and self-examine or get professionally checked when you notice any concerning spots.