?Most melanomas develop as superficial tumors which grow along the skin surface. To help differentiate amelanoma from a benign, pigmented skin lesion, we use the acronymABCDE.
A – Asymmetry: Look for growths in which one half doesn’t match the other half.
B – Borders: Look for irregular borders with edges that are ragged, notched or blurred.
C – Color: Look for pigmentation that’s not uniform; with shades of tan, brown and black present. Dashes of red, white and blue may add to the mottled appearance.
D – Diameter: Look for size greater than six millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser). Any mole growth should be of concern.
E – Evolution: Look for changes in size, shape, color, or elevation, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting.
A melanoma can also grow downward, deeper into the skin, where it can spread to nearby lymph nodes, as well as to other parts of the body, including the bones and lungs. In these cases, symptoms would include lymph node swelling, bone pain or shortness of breath.
Greg Angstreich, M.D.
Hoag-affiliated Oncologist located at 520 Superior Ave., Suite 300, Newport Beach, CA 92663 949/646-3222