The main warning sign of melanoma is the appearance of an abnormal, darkened lesion. The lesion can vary in size and may appear anywhere on the body, even on the eye. In men, melanoma is often found on the trunk (from the shoulders to the hips) or on the neck and head, while in women, melanoma is often found on the arms and legs.
Any mole or pigmented skin that changes in size, shape, or color, or looks abnormal, may indicate the presence of melanoma. Specific signs to look for include:
- a mole with irregular edges or borders
- a mole that is more than 1 color
- a mole that is asymmetrical (that is, if it was divided in half, the halves would differ in size or shape)
- a mole that itches
- a mole that oozes, bleeds, is crusted over, or is ulcerated (a hole forms in the skin when the top layer of cells slough off, allowing the underlying tissue to show through)
- satellite moles (new moles that grow near an existing mole)
Note that people with multiple melanoma symptoms should undergo a full body examination by their doctor at least once a year to avoid missing any signs on their own. Please contact your physician if you suspect that you have melanoma.
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