Signs of Melanoma
Melanoma can vary greatly in the way it looks. In people who have lots of moles, melanoma usually stands out and looks different from the other moles.
The first sign is often a new spot or occasionally a change in an existing mole:
- size – the spot may appear or begin to grow larger
- colour – the mole may become increasingly blotchy with different depths and shades of colour (brown, black, blue, red, white, light grey, pink or skin-coloured)
- shape or border – the spot may increase in height, become scaly, have an irregular shape (scalloped or notched) or lack symmetry (the halves look different)
- itching or bleeding – the mole may itch or bleed at times
- elevation – the spot may start as a raised nodule or develop a raised area, which is often reddish or reddish brown.
New moles can appear during childhood and through to the 30s and 40s, as well as during pregnancy. However, adults should see their doctor to get a new mole examined, particularly if it is noticeably different from other moles or is raised, firm and growing. Even if you have had a mole checked before and it was considered benign, it is important to regularly check your skin for any change in shape, size or colour in the future. Talk to your doctor immediately about any changes.
|Examining your skin regularly, or as recommended by your general practitioner (GP), will help you notice any new or changing spots.|
A/Prof Victoria Atkinson, Senior Staff Specialist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Visiting Medical Oncologist, Greenslopes Private Hospital, and The University of Queensland Clinical School of Medicine, QLD; Adjunct Prof John Kelly AM, Consultant Dermatologist, Victorian Melanoma Service, and Department of Medicine at Alfred Health, Monash University, VIC; Dr Alex Chamberlain, Dermatologist, Glenferrie Dermatology, Victorian Melanoma Service and Monash Univeristy, VIC; Alison Button-Sloan, Melanoma Patients Australia; Peter Cagney, Consumer; Prof Brendon J Coventry, Associate Professor of Surgery, The University of Adelaide, Surgical Oncologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital, and Research Director, Australian Melanoma Research Foundation, SA; Dr David Gyorki, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Liz King, Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, Cancer Council NSW; Shannon Jones, SunSmart Health Professionals Coordinator, Cancer Council Victoria; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof Richard Scolyer, Senior Staff Specialist, Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Co-Medical Director, Melanoma Institute Australia and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Heather Walker, Chair, Cancer Council National Skin Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Australia. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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