Change is the biggest warning sign of melanoma skin cancer. It does not matter if it is a mole, birthmark, or something else residing on the skin; if the size changes shape or colour, or a new growth on the skin occurs contact your doctor immediately. Remember the following ABCDE rule:
- A stands for asymmetry meaning one half of your mole looks different then the other half
- B stands for border irregularity meaning edges look blurred, notched, or ragged
- C stands for colour meaning pigmentation is not uniform. This could be shades of black, brown or tan.
- D stands for diameter meaning mole is bigger then the eraser on a pencil
- E stands for evolution meaning mole colour has changed, it becomes itchy or tender
If a mole that is already on the body experiences changes, then melanoma could be present. The changes are as follows:
- Flat mole which suddenly elevates or even thickens
- Scaling, oozing, crusting, or bleeding on the surface
- Any redness, swelling, or new patches on the surrounding skin
- Burning, tingling, or itching
- Pieces break off easily or if it becomes soft
Treatment of skin cancer
If melanoma is diagnosed at the beginning then the treatment would be to surgically remove any affected skin. Depending on what stage the cancer is at, will determine the treatment needed. Treatments are as follows:
- Surgery could be local excision, wide local excision, lymph node dissection, or sentinel lymph node biopsy
The harmful UV rays are what cause skin cancer. Protect your skin from the radiation of the rays while doing self examinations.
It is important to ask your doctor how far it has spread and how he came to this conclusion. If surgery is suggested then you need to know if there will be any treatment afterwards if there is then find out about any side effects that you might experience. Also it would be good to know whether there will be any scarring left and how to help make it less noticeable.
The more information you can obtain on skin cancer the easier it will be for you to cope. Talk with family members and discuss what you are going through so they are aware of the situation. In a situation like this it is usually family members or really close friends that help you succeed in fighting it while keeping your spirits high. If you feel you are falling into depression mode, contact the doctor immediately and get help.