Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer. It is also known as malignant melanoma skin cancer. In this hub, you'll learn how to distinguish a malignant mole and know the signs and symptoms of malignant moles and its treatment.
Melanoma and Malignant Moles
Almost everyone has moles. I honestly don’t know anyone without a mole in his body. Some people even have them like little stars scattered all over their skin. As we notice, moles are different. Some are brown, black or reddish. Some are flat, round while others are roughly raised and wrinkled. As we notice, too our moles are changing and evolving as we grow up. And we, all must know by now that certain moles and mole like skins are cancerous and can be malignant. And as what everyone always says ‘prevention is better than cure’, all of us must be cautious and be more watchful in observing and checking our skins particularly moles to know the earliest time if we have malignant mole or malignant melanoma skin cancer.
Why early detection is quite important? The early discovery of having a cancerous mole is always better because one, it can be one hundred percent curable; two, it will be stopped from spreading and three, you will avoid the most serious and most dangerous form of skin cancer that causes high number of deaths.
What is melanoma and what are signs of cancerous moles?
Melanoma is a malignant tumor that originates in melanocytes, the cells which produce the pigment melanin that colors our skin, hair, and eyes. The majority of melanomas are black or brown. However, some melanomas are skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white according to Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma diagnosis cases are more common in Caucasian populations living in sunny climates or in those who use tanning salons. So regulate your tanning sessions folks. According to a World Health Organization, report about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide per year. Whoa, this kind of skin cancer is that deadly huh. Melanoma is just one from the kinds of skin cancer. The other types of skin cancer are listed below.
Less common types of skin cancer:
Merkel cell carcinoma
Spindle cell tumors
Microcystic adnexal carcinoma
Pagets's disease of the breast
Types of skin cancer
Different types of skin cancer: There are three common kinds of skin cancer.
- Basal cell cancer - are present on sun-exposed areas of the skin, especially the face. These type of skin cancer cells are quickly treated by skin surgery or radiation.
- Squamous cell cancer – are commonly present as a red, crusted, or scaly patches.
- Malignant melanoma – are deadly once spread, also referred from cancerous moles and is discussed in this article.
Who are prone to melanoma and cancer of the skin?
So who are prone to melanoma and what causes this kind of deadly skin cancer? Is everyone at risk?
Studies show that there are a higher percentage of men who are reportedly diagnosed with cancer of the mole (melanoma) than that of the number of women. Also white people with fairer skins and those who live in sunny states have higher risk. Heredity is also a big factor. A person with a first-degree relative diagnosed with melanoma has a 50 percent greater chance of developing the skin cancer. If you had the other types of skin cancer before, you are more likely to develop melanoma. Studies show also that if someone had breast cancer, it raises the chance of getting melanoma. Exposure to UV rays and radiation of course can cause any type of cancer. And the more moles you have, the more chance of risk of for melanoma.
How to avoid melanoma
- Avoid over-exposure to the sun and when you need to, apply sunblocks. Avoid getting sunburns and getting tanned especially using a tanning booth or tanning bed, since it increases your exposure to UV rays and radiation.
- Eat more healthy foods such as fruits and veggies to have a strong resistance and strong immune system.
- Be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancerous moles and skin cancer. Early detection can save you and can prevent getting a malignant melanoma. Know the melanoma warnings, signs and skin cancer facts because knowing is the best prevention of skin cancer.
Treatment and cure of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer
Melanoma is 100 percent curable if it is detected early. If you have the symptoms of melanoma, it is best to undergo skin examination with a doctor specializing with the skin. If the doctor finds your mole so suspicious and abnormal, you will then undergo a biopsy or skin cancer lesion so the pathologist can examine if the tissue has cancerous cells. If the pathologist found it malignant, it is best to suggest having a second biopsy examination because melanoma is a serious skin cancer and is so hard to diagnose. See the complete treatment procedure and stages of melanoma treatment in the National Cancer Institute
Signs of cancerous moles
How would you know if a mole is benign or malignant from cancer? Majority of moles in the skin are not harmful and dangerous however one must be alert to observe strange appearance and changes because a normal mole at birth may develop into a cancerous mole and become malignant in the days. Even if you won’t see a sign of a cancerous mole, it is still best to consult a skin doctor and specialist to surely detect one and avoid the risks of skin cancer. Remember, the more moles you have on your body, the greater risk for melanoma. Below are the warnings and signs of cancerous moles and having a melanoma.
- The existing mole changes in color. A sign of skin cancer is detected when you notice your mole or wart is having different colors, like from brown to light brown or tan or black, actually combination of all.
- The existing mole changes in size and shape. This includes the border and diameter of the mole. If the border changes and becomes irregular it’s a sign. If the diameter is expanding and enlarging, it’s a warning of melanoma. Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of the eraser of a pencil (1/4 inch or 6 mm).
- The mole is evolving. All in all if the mole is changing in appearance from time to time, in shape, size, color, texture, and any symptom such as itching, bleeding and crusting, it has a higher risk to melanoma.
To sum up and easily remember the signs whether the mole is cancerous, remember the ABCDE warnings of recognizing melanoma.
A – asymmetry
B - border
C - color
D - diameter
E - evolving
Pro-Hubber from Florida on August 26, 2014:
Ohno on August 25, 2014:
I have what looks like the picture on the top right on the pic u have with the comparisons. I don't remember it before though. I think it seems to have "surfaced" within the past year. I think I better get it checked out, but do u think it's a dangerous
How Cancer Kills from Florida on December 16, 2013:
Interesting and informative hub :)
conradofontanilla from Philippines on May 19, 2013:
Like my suggestion for Maria, a consultation with a dermatologist is advisable. Melanoma detected early can be remedied by biopsy that is still a simple surgery.
Jb on May 19, 2013:
i have a purple colour mole that looks like it's got bigger but scared of going doctors anyone got any advise
twentyfive (author) on November 12, 2012:
Thanks Kimberly :)
Kimberly Vaughn from Midwest on November 11, 2012:
Great hub! I especially love the pictures comparing regular moles to moles that we should be concerned about.
twentyfive (author) on October 15, 2012:
Yes having it checked with a dermatologist will make you aware. I hope it's not something to be feared.
Thanks Conrado you are so kind for sharing useful info here. God bless you all!
conradofontanilla from Philippines on October 15, 2012:
Maria, I suggest you have it checked by a dermatologist. Changes in its features suggest something is amiss.
maria on October 15, 2012:
i have a mole in my left leg its not that big as an eraser of a pencil but it looks like a two connected mole I noticed it just two years ago. i observed that it changes its color time to time from skin tone to darker like black and beneath my skin that surrounds the mole indicates something bleeding inside but then after a few days or a week its back to its normal appearance back to skin tone with no itch. is it cancerous?
twentyfive (author) on August 15, 2012:
@Ruby dont worry so much. It’s just small. Don’t stress so much about it. Just observe it if it changes and have other symptoms of ABCDE above
@Conrado Wow thank you for sharing that amazing phenomenon. Will read your hub about it, it sounds so interesting. Thank you. :)
conradofontanilla from Philippines on August 15, 2012:
Free radicals like hydroxyl radical and singlet oxygen cause melanoma. Singlet oxygen was formerly a molecular oxygen with two unpaired electrons spinning in the same direction around the nucleus. Energy from the sun excites one unpaired electron and reverses its spin resulting in singlet oxygen. An unpaired electron is unstable and to stabilize itself it grabs an electron from the molecule of a neighboring tissue causing injury in the DNA or other parts of the cell. Such injury causes mutation in DNA that results in turn in tumor or cancer that start with one mitotic cell. Radioactive materials like polonium 210 and lead 210 in tobacco decay into lead 206 that is stable. The decay emits x-rays that alter the arrangement of atoms of molecules of DNA that result in mutation. Decaying lead or polonium also generate free radicals. I have a Hub "How x-rays and free radicals in cigarette smoke, not tar, cause cancer and heart disease."
ruby on August 15, 2012:
HI, I noticed that I have dark brown mole on my stomach that is very small, it does not hurt, itches or bleeds, I don't feel anything when I touch it. the only thing that worries me is that it does not have a defined border. it looks scattered...
twentyfive (author) on June 26, 2012:
pink moles are normal as long as they don't change in color
Lisa on June 23, 2012:
I had a mole just develop it is pink should I be worried
twentyfive (author) on May 20, 2012:
Don't worry too much. Check out the ABCDE signs of melanoma.
jodi on May 20, 2012:
thank you, i don't know how long its been there but since noticing it it hasn't changed and isn't itchy or bleeding. Its just with it not being 1 colour that worries me.
conradofontanilla from Philippines on May 20, 2012:
If it had hot changed in size and color it is not melanoma. To confirm this, consult a dermatologist.
jodi on May 20, 2012:
ive got a mole on my stomach that's darker in the middle than the edge, i noticed it a while ago but not sure how long ive had it. Could it be cancer? I haven't got any of the other signs and since noticing it it hasn't changed.
momof3 on May 19, 2012:
I was diagnosed with malignant melonoma and had it removed from my face to find out years later that it was a mistake. The lab that examined the sample made a horrible mistake.
conradofontanilla from Philippines on May 16, 2012:
I suggest you have it checked by a dermatologist. Dr. Kaufman in his book "The Melanoma Book" says a colored mole is more hazardous than a black mole, especially if it is inflamed.
nicola on May 16, 2012:
i have a black freckel that appeared after my holiday 2010 its started as a tiny freckel but is now black and a little brown through it,it itches now and then could this br melanoma?
twentyfive (author) on April 28, 2012:
Thank you for sharing that useful info about melanoma. I will read your hub now. Thanks
conradofontanilla from Philippines on April 27, 2012:
A red mole is more dangerous than a black one, especially if its size is increasing. Free radicals cause melanoma. I have a Hub "How Free Radicals Induce Melanoma (Skin Cancer) and How To Treat It." Voted up and useful.
twentyfive (author) on March 29, 2012:
Thank you so much LuxmiH for visiting. Melanoma sounds so scary but can be prevented on early detection. I pray your family member who had Basal and Squamous would never have it.. God bless you. :)
Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes from Fort Pierce, Florida on March 29, 2012:
You are really good at providing excellent information in an easy to read and understand format.
We have someone in our family who has had both Basal and Squamous over the years. Thanks to this Hub, it is time for another check up on a mole that is behaving much like a melanoma. Bless you for getting me to take action on something I thought could wait.
Voted up and (very) useful.
Melanie on August 31, 2011:
I have had a mole on my breast for as long as I can remember. This year my doctor suggested it get checked by a dermatologist. Whom today just removed it, and has sent it off to the lab for a biopsy. This scares me. Because I never really thought about it as serious until now after reading this and hearing the doctor mention 'melanoma'. I'm going to stay positive as my mole hasn't changed color or shape as far as I know.
Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 09, 2011:
I was diagnosed last year with Melanoma, with my mole above my breast. I did not exactly knew what that was until I googled the word. I was so scared and thought it´s the end. It was operated early before it get worse and my doctor found out that it was not a bad mole at all. Thanks to God for that. Now everyday is a precious day for me. Thanks for sharing.
twentyfive (author) on September 03, 2010:
neither did I until I made this hub :)
Mentalist acer from A Voice in your Mind! on September 02, 2010:
I didn't know a normal mole could become cancerous,thanks twentyfive;)