Recognizing the signs of melanoma: symptoms and early diagnosis

Melanoma, although it poses a significant threat to health, can be effectively treated if caught early. To do this, it is essential to know and recognize the symptoms and warning signs of melanoma. This article explores in detail how to monitor your moles and when it’s time to see a dermatologist for a more thorough examination. In addition, the diagnostic methods used to detect melanoma in its early stages are discussed.

## Melanoma symptoms and warning signs

Melanoma can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but common warning signs are summarized in the ABCDE rule:

  • Asymmetry: Melanomas are often asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the center of the mole, the two halves won’t match.
  • Border: Melanomas tend to have irregular, jagged, or fuzzy borders.
  • Color: Melanomas often have a variety of colors, including black, brown, gray, red, blue, or white.
  • Diameter: Melanomas are often more than 6 millimeters in diameter, but can be smaller in the early stages.
  • Evolving: Any change in the color, size, shape, or texture of a mole, or new symptoms such as bleeding, itching, or swelling, can be a sign of melanoma.

## Self-screening and dermatological visit

Checking your skin regularly can help identify early changes that could indicate melanoma. It’s important to examine the entire body, including hard-to-see areas such as the scalp, underarms, and feet.

If you notice a suspicious mole or skin change, it’s important to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. The dermatologist will perform a complete visual examination of the skin and, if necessary, may take a tissue sample (biopsy) for further examination.

## Early diagnosis of Melanoma

In addition to the visual examination and biopsy, there are other methods for diagnosing melanoma in its early stages. The dermatoscope, a device that uses light to examine moles in detail, is a common diagnostic tool. Some recent studies are exploring the use of artificial intelligence to improve the accuracy of diagnosis.

Mole mapping, a process that monitors changes in moles over time, can also help detect early melanoma. Some clinics use whole-body photography and imaging software to monitor changes.

Remember, early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment of melanoma. With awareness of your symptoms, regular self-screening, and dermatologist visits, you can protect yourself from this insidious disease. Melanoma can be a threat to our health, but with the right knowledge and care, we can do a lot to prevent it.