Do you have moles and have been wondering how to tell apart a benign one from a malignant one? This post delves into the malignant moles signs, malignant moles treatment and malignant melanoma moles. We also give pictures to help you know the various signs and symptoms of malignant moles that you should be looking out for to aid you in early detection.
The chances for surviving cancer increase when it is discovered early enough. When it comes to skin cancer, it is important to carry out skin self-examination so as to note any changes that may be occurring. People who have moles are among the risk groups for skin cancer. It is therefore important to keep observing them as any slight change may be indicative of malignancy. Read on to learn about malignant moles.
Table of Contents
Malignant Moles Signs
A mole, also known as melanocytic nevus, refers to a growth of the skin pigmentation cells which are also known as melanocytes. These may appear in the first year of life and increase with time. An individual could have up to 40 of them.
Though most moles are benign, some moles on the body tend to malignant and develop into melanoma, a very aggressive type of skin cancer. The treatment of this will depend on various factors. These include how much spread the infected cells have spread, the size and depth of the mole. When in the early stages, a simple surgery and follow up will help.
The number of moles that one has are indicative of the risk at which one is of developing a malignant melanoma. While moles are most of the time harmless, it is important to keep inspecting them so that any changes, whether slight or major can be noted at the earliest instance. This will help to tell early enough when the moles are turning malignant. non-malignant moles are called benign.
While doing regular inspections, some malignant moles signs to look out for are contained in the acronym ABCDE. These include:
- A – Asymmetry: If it is possible that an imaginative division of the mole into two will yield halves that are different from each other, there is a possibility for malignancy.
- B- Boarder irregularity: Benign moles tend to have even boarders. When it comes to malignant moles, the boarders are irregular and not smooth.
- C- Color: Where one has many moles, there could be a single one that is different in color. It is also possible to have a single mole spotting different colors. Both situations are malignant moles signs.
- D- Diameter: A normal mole is usually the size of a pencil eraser. When it grows beyond this, it becomes a malignant mole symptom.
- E- Elevation/Enlargement: In case a mole was in the inner parts of the skin and starts to get elevated, this could be a sign of melanoma in moles. The same applies when any other type of change such as itchiness and pain evolve on a previously normal mole.
Other malignant moles signs one should look for include getting itchy, inflamed, crusty or bleeding. Where any of these changes are noticed, a quick visit to the dermatologist should be done.Given the malignant moles signs, it is important to learn to prevent them from developing into this. Some of the preventive measures include:
- Avoiding over-exposure to UV light. This means avoiding direct sunlight when the sun is strongest. Staying in the shade between 11.00am and 3.00pm is advised.
- When venturing out, cover yourself up with hats that are wide brimmed, sunglasses and wear enough clothing to cover yourself up.
- Apply high factor sunscreen with a minimum SPF label of 15. Apply and reapply regularly more so after having a swim.
- Stay away from sun lamps and sunbeds.
Malignant Moles Treatment
While undergoing malignant moles treatment, the standard treatment is normally surgery. How deeply the malignancy has invaded the skin determines the extent of the surgery. It is important to get rid of not only the malignant mole but some of the normal skin within and some fatty tissues below it. To reduce the risk of recurring melanoma, interferon may be offered. This is done in the form of injections given thrice a week and which could be self-administered.
Where there are signs that melanoma could have spread to the nearest lymph nodes, they also are removed where it is possible. In case it has spread too much and surgery alone is not enough to treat it, other medical malignant moles treatments are adopted. These may include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These can only be done in specialized hospitals.
While all doctors strive the best they can to see to it that patients get better, the chance of recovery from malignant moles treatment depends on the following factors:
- The speed at which the cancer cells are dividing.
- If there was bleeding at the primary site of treatment.
- If there is a spread of the cancer to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body.
- The general health of the patient.
It is therefore important to discuss anything suspicious concerning moles with your dermatologist. Where possible, a personal skin examination should be complemented by one done by a professional. This will increase chances of early detection.
Malignant Moles Pictures
Sample below some moles pictures based on the ABCDE factor.
Malignant Melanoma Moles
Melanocytes are cells found at the bottom of the epidermis. They are the cells responsible for production of melanin, the skin color pigmentation which helps protect our skin from the sun. In fair-skinned people, melanin is responsible for the tanning of the skin. Dark skinned people tend to have more melanin that is active in their bodies. At times, the melanocytes get clustered together under or on the skin. This is when moles are said to form on the skin.
Malignant melanoma moles refer to malignancy of these clustered pigment producing melanocytes. This is most common in fair skinned people and the disease has tripled amongst these populations over the past 20 years. The people at the highest risk for melanoma are those with fair skin, those who had multiple sunburns as children, use of sun beds and family history of melanoma in relatives of first degree.
The malignant melanoma moles are evidenced in the moles appearance. They are characterized by asymmetry, irregular borders, multiple color shades of pigmentation or an area of depigmentation, a blotchy appearance and an irregular texture on its surface.
There are various types of classification of the levels of penetration of the disease. One previously famous classification was Clark’s system. However, a new method known as Breslow staging is being preferred to this.
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