Learn more about the symptoms for melanoma and how to determine whether an unusual mole should be seen by a doctor or dermatologist. Jennifer Lin, MD, a dermatologist with Dana-Farber's Melanoma Treatment Center, describes some of the warning signs of melanoma.
This video is a clip from a live chat held with Dr. Lin on May 20, 2015. To watch the full melanoma chat, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNLq2S-b7nY
For more information on melanoma treatment and research, visit: http://www.dana-farber.org/Adult-Care/Treatment-and-Support/Treatment-Centers-and-Clinical-Services/Melanoma-Treatment-Center.aspx
Text: What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma?
Dr. Lin: Yeah, so we’re sort of lucky in some ways in the skin in that we can actually see what’s going on, so I think as a dermatologist we really believe we have an opportunity to catch a melanoma early. I often tell my patients, “If I can look at your colon everyday, I’m sure I’d be removing lots of stuff from your colon as well.”
So, [inaudible 00:30] by far the most common finding will be a changing mole. It might be a mole that’s growing rapidly, spreading out in its edges. Oftentimes it will have multiple colors in the lesions. Sometimes it will develop a bump in the middle.
So, the ABCD’s that we go by still applies. A being for ‘asymmetry’—if you can’t fold the mole in half, if it looks uneven. B is if the ‘border’ is irregular—it might have a scalloped edge or lost color at the edge. C, again, for ‘color’—multiple colors in one lesion. And finally, D for ‘diameter’—if it’s a large mole.
And E—[inaudible 01:10] added in—and I really do want to emphasize that—because E stands for ‘evolution’ or change, and that is probably the most important thing. Occasionally it will turn itchy and red as a sign that things are changing inside the mole and turning into melanoma. And there is a subset of melanoma that is pink, so it doesn’t have any color at all. So, if there is something growing fast on your skin, then that’s something we want to hear about.