What Are The Signs Of Melanoma
Knowing how to spot melanoma is important because early melanomas are highly treatable. Melanoma can appear as moles, scaly patches, open sores or raised bumps.
Use the American Academy of Dermatologys ABCDE memory device to learn the warning signs that a spot on your skin may be melanoma:
- Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.
- Border: The edges are not smooth.
- Color: The color is mottled and uneven, with shades of brown, black, gray, red or white.
- Diameter: The spot is greater than the tip of a pencil eraser .
- Evolving: The spot is new or changing in size, shape or color.
Some melanomas dont fit the ABCDE rule, so tell your doctor about any sores that wont go away, unusual bumps or rashes or changes in your skin or in any existing moles.
Another tool to recognize melanoma is the ugly duckling sign. If one of your moles looks different from the others, its the ugly duckling and should be seen by a dermatologist.
Also Check: Can You Die From Basal Cell Skin Cancer
How Fast Can Melanoma Spread
A second factor that plays an important role in how fast melanoma can spread is the genetic factor. Certain gene abnormalities encourage melanoma to invade the surrounding tissue. This means that certain ways of how cells are composed can affect the speed of the melanoma spreading. This process, though, can vary significantly from one person to another.
If you have been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, talk with your doctor about your personal situation and treatment options.
You May Like: How Does Skin Cancer Occur
Where Are Nodular Melanoma Growths Found
The most common growth sites for nodular melanoma are the neck, head, and trunk of the body. Unlike some other types of skin cancer, nodular melanomas typically begin as a new growth, rather than developing within a preexisting mole.
It can take as little as 3 months for this type of cancer to spread internally. Nodular melanoma can quickly progress to an advanced stage. Advanced stages of nodular melanoma are more difficult to treat than earlier stages of the disease.
You May Like: Stage 3 Melanoma Life Expectancy
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have melanoma, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called staging. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what type of treatment is best for you.
The stage describes the growth or spread of the melanoma through the skin. It also tells if it has spread to other parts of your body.
Your cancer can be stage 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread beyond the skin. Be sure to ask the doctor about the cancer stage and what it means for you.
Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented
Skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Making a part of your life, avoiding sunburn, and checking your skin regularly will help prevent further damage to your skin.
Protect your skin from UV radiation and help prevent skin cancer by:
- slipping on sun-protective clothing: cover your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body.
- slopping on sunscreen thats rated SPF 30+ or higher, broad-spectrum and water resistant.
- slapping on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
- seeking shade under trees, umbrellas and buildings from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces.
- sliding on sunglasses that wrap around your face to protect your eyes and surrounding skin.
- staying away from sun lamps, solariums or sunbeds, which emit dangerous levels of UV radiation.
UV radiation from the sun varies depending on time of day, season, where you live and cloud coverage. Protect your skin whenever UV Index levels are above 3. Use Cancer Council Australias free SunSmart app to check the UV Index for your area any time.
Most Australians will get enough vitamin D even with sun protection at UV level 3 or above. Babies and children should be protected from the sun, since they are particularly vulnerable to UV radiation harm.
While using fake tanning cream isnt harmful to your skin, it offers no protection from UV radiation. You still need to protect yourself from the sun.
Recommended Reading: Cancer All Over Body Symptoms
How Quickly Can Skin Cancer Grow
When doctors talk about skin cancer, they often reiterate the point that its important to catch any potential issues early in order to have the best chance of recovery. But exactly how quickly can skin cancer grow? Is it safe to wait a week after noticing something strange on your skin? How long should you wait before deciding that a spot is just a spot?
What Is Skin Cancer?
The term skin cancer actually encompasses a collection of different skin cancers, each with its own symptoms and potential growth rate. Some forms of skin cancer are considered to be less aggressive, such as basal cell carcinoma, while others are considered more aggressive, such as squamous cell carcinoma or malignant melanoma. The growth rate will depend on the person and type of skin cancer, explains Dr. Azeen Sadeghian, board certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For example, some forms of skin cancer grow in a matter of weeks and others over months, she continues.
How Do I Spot It?
Dermatologists have come up with an easier way to gauge if your spot is of concern with the ABCs of Skin Cancer!
- A Asymmetry
- B Border Irregular
- C Color
- D Diameter
- E Evolving
Skin Cancer Detection & Treatment
What Is The Cause Of Superficial Spreading Melanoma
Superficial spreading melanoma is due to the development of malignant pigment cells along the basal layer of the epidermis. The majority arise in previously normal-appearing skin. About 25% develop within an existing melanocytic naevus, which can be a normal common naevus, an atypical or dysplastic naevus, or a congenital naevus.
What triggers the melanocytes to become malignant is not fully known. Specific genemutations such as BRAFV600E have been detected in many superficial spreading melanomas and these mutations may change as the disease advances.
Damage by ultraviolet radiation results in a degree of immune tolerance, allowing abnormal cells to grow unchecked. This can occur from exposure to natural sunlight, particularly if sunburn has occurred, and artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation from sun beds / solaria.
Also Check: How Do Carcinomas Spread
What Does Pt1a Mean Melanoma
The definition of pT1a stage finding depends on the particular type of cancer that it refers to for example, for breast cancer, pT1a stage finding is defined as follows: cancer with tumor size more than 0.1 cm, but not more than 0.5 cm in greatest dimension for lung cancer, pT1a stage finding is defined as follows:
How Quickly Does Melanoma Grow
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
Don’t Miss: Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer Survival Rate
What Is Nodular Melanoma
All forms of melanoma occur when the melanocytes in your skin reproduce too fast and cause tumors to form. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for giving your skin its color.
In nodular melanoma, a bump, or nodule, will form on your skin. If not detected and treated early, the cancerous cells can spread into your skin and then to other parts of your body.
Nodular melanoma grows faster than other forms of melanoma, making it the most aggressive type of skin cancer.
How Fast Does Melanoma Spread
Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer because of its ability to metastasize to local lymph nodes and other organs. It is estimated that melanoma kills, on average, over 10,000 people in the United States every year.
The first sign of flat melanoma is usually a new spot or an existing mole or freckle that changes in appearance. Some changes can include:
- A spot that has grown in size
- A spot where the edges are looking irregular versus smooth and even
- A spot that has a range of colors such as brown, black, blue, red, white or light gray.
- A spot that has become itchy or is bleeding
According to Dr. Andrew Duncanson, board-certified dermatologist at Forefront Dermatology, It is important to know that melanoma can appear on areas of the skin not normally exposed to the sun such as under the arm, chest, and buttocks. It can also appear in areas that you are not able to see easily on your own including the ears, scalp, back of legs, and bottom of feet. I always recommend to my patients to look for the ugly duckling spot the new spot that doesnt look like any others. Additionally, ask a family member to look over the hard to see areas monthly, while also getting an annual skin cancer exam by a board-certified dermatologist to detect skin cancer early.
Read Also: Skin Cancer Pictures Mayo Clinic
Survival For All Stages Of Melanoma
Generally for people with melanoma in England:
- almost all people will survive their melanoma for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
- around 90 out of every 100 people will survive their melanoma for 5 years or more after diagnosis
- more than 85 out of every 100 people will survive their melanoma for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed
Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019Office for National Statistics
These figures are for people diagnosed in England between 2013 and 2017.
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
Tests To Check Your Lymph Nodes
If you are diagnosed with melanoma, your doctor may suggest some tests to check the lymph nodes. Not everyone needs these test. Whether you have them depends on the size of the melanoma and if the lymph nodes look or feel swollen. These tests include:
- A sentinel lymph node biopsy
A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a way of checking the lymph nodes closest to the melanoma
An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to make up a picture of an area of the body.
- Fine needle aspiration
If the ultrasound scan of the lymph nodes is abnormal, the doctor will do a fine needle aspiration.
Also Check: Clear Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Which Is The Best Definition Of Pt1a Stage Finding
Definition. A pathologic primary tumor TNM stage finding. The definition of pT1a stage finding depends on the particular type of cancer that it refers to for example, for breast cancer, pT1a stage finding is defined as follows: cancer with tumor size more than 0.1 cm, but not more than 0.5 cm in greatest dimension for lung cancer,
What Causes Nodular Melanoma
Nodular melanoma happens when melanocyte cells in your skin mutate and become cancerous. Melanocytes are the cells in your skin that make melanin. This is the pigment that gives your skin its color.
Sometimes, these cells can mutate after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The sun is by far the most significant source of UV radiation, but it can also come from other sources, such as lasers and tanning beds.
If you get too much exposure to UV radiation, it can damage the DNA of your skin cells. This can lead to mutations in the DNA, causing the cells to grow out of control.
These mutations can lead to all types of skin cancer, including nodular melanoma. More research needs to be done to determine what causes specific types of skin cancer to form.
Exposure to UV light can cause mutations in skin cells and lead to multiple types of skin cancer. Scientists dont know exactly why DNA mutations to the melanocyte cells sometimes cause nodular melanoma and not other melanomas.
However, there are some risk factors that may increase the risk of nodular melanoma:
You May Like: Well-differentiated Meaning
You Of Course May Not Think The Tiny Speck Is Melanoma But Over Time Its Going To Get Bigger Or Spread Superficially
How long does this take to happen, or to put it another way, how fast does this spreading or growth occur?
Melanomas can either have not spread past the skin or already be metastatic by the time you find a 1 mm lesion, says Dr. Jennifer Gordon, who is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology she practices at Westlake Dermatology located in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Gordon points out, however: A 1 mm lesion would be rare to be already metastatic.
This would be the nodular type of melanoma, which is an uncommon sub-type of this skin malignancy.
I realize this offers little comfort, but it is the unfortunate truth, continues Dr. Gordon. There are multiple types of melanomas, such as:
- Melanoma in-situ
- Nodular melanoma
- Desmoplastic melanoma, etc.
Are There Different Kinds Of Skin Cancer
There are many types of skin cancer. Your doctor can tell you more about the type of skin cancer you have.
Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are much more common than melanoma and dont often spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is more deadly because it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
Read Also: Stage Iiia Melanoma Prognosis
What Kind Of Treatment Will I Need
There are many ways to treat melanoma. The main types of treatment are:
Most early stage melanomas can be treated with surgery alone. More advanced cancers need other treatments.
The treatment plan thats best for you will depend on:
- The stage of the cancer
- The results of lab tests on the cancer cells
- The chance that a type of treatment will cure the melanoma or help in some way
- Your age
Where Else Does Melanoma Spread To
When melanoma advances to stage 3, it means the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes or the skin around the primary tumor and lymph nodes. In stage 4, the cancer has moved to other areas far beyond the lymph nodes, like your internal organs. The most common places melanoma spreads to are the:
- stomach, or abdomen
These growths will cause different symptoms, depending on which areas it has spread to. For example, you may feel breathless or constantly cough if the cancer has spread to your lungs. Or you may have a long-term headache that wont go away if it has spread to your brain. Sometimes the symptoms for stage 4 melanoma may not appear for many years after the original tumor was removed.
Talk to your doctor if youre feeling new pains and aches or symptoms. Theyll be able to help diagnose the cause and recommend treatment options.
Recommended Reading: Non Invasive Breast Cancer Survival Rate
Who Gets Superficial Spreading Melanoma
According to New Zealand Cancer Registry data, 2256 invasive melanomas were diagnosed in 2008 48% were in males. At least 40% were reported to be superficial spreading melanoma. There were 371 deaths from all types of melanoma in 2008 .
Superficial spreading melanoma accounts for two-thirds of cases of melanoma in Australia and New Zealand. It nearly always arises in white skinned individuals. Although more common in very fair skin , it may also occur in those who tan quite easily . It is rare in brown or black skin .
Superficial spreading melanoma is equally common in males and females. Only 15% of melanomas arise before the age of 40, and it is rare under the age of 20 .
The main risk factors for superficial spreading melanoma are:
- Increasing age
- Multiple atypical naevi
- Strong family history of melanoma with 2 or more first-degree relatives affected
- Fair skin that burns easily
- History of blistering sunburn.
Less strong factors include blue or green eyes, red or blond hair, indoor occupation with outdoor recreation, and signs of sun damage.
How Quickly Does Skin Cancer Appear On The Body
Have you noticed the appearance of a sudden, unusual growth on your skin? Certain types of skin cancer, like melanoma, can show up very quickly and without warning. So, how can you know if its truly a cause for concern? The only way to determine if a skin growth is cancerous is by getting a skin cancer screening from a qualified provider. The expert dermatology team at Advanced Dermatology offers skin cancer screenings to detect many types of skin cancer and can offer a variety of appropriate treatment solutions at our practice locations in Katy, League City, Pearland, and Sugar Land, TX. So, reach out to us for a screening as soon as you notice an irregular spot.
How long does it take skin cancer to appear?
There’s no set timeline for skin cancer growth and appearance. While some skin cancer lesions appear suddenly, others grow slowly over time. For example, the crusty, pre-cancerous spots associated with actinic keratoses can take years to develop. Other forms of skin cancer, like melanoma, can appear very suddenly, while at other times, the lesions can vanish and reappear.
Where is skin cancer commonly found on the body?
Signs of skin cancer
The specific symptoms can vary based on each individual type of skin cancer. During a skin cancer screening performed in one of our Houston, TX area offices, our dermatologists look for the following types of cancer:
Get a skin cancer diagnosis in Houston, TX
Also Check: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Survival Rate Stage 3