Melanoma is a variant of skin cancer with the only difference being that it is far more serious than the other forms in that it has the potential to spread quickly if not treated(1). Melanoma develops on the cells that produce melanin, which is a pigment that defines the color of the skin(2). The lesser the count of the skin the more light the skin color will be(3).
At times, the eyes may also get affected by melanoma and in extremely rare cases they develop in the internal organs like the intestines. What is the primary cause of melanomas is still a matter of ongoing research, but overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun is believed to one of the primary risk factors(4, 5, 6).
Melanoma cases, of late, seem to be on the rise especially in females under the age of 35(4). Knowing the early symptoms of a melanoma can go a long way in early detection and prompt treatment of this condition(5). When treated on time, melanoma is completely curable. This article discusses about some of the primary presenting features of melanoma.
What are the Presenting Features of Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of cancer that is quite easy to identify as the tumor grows on the surface of the skin. This is the reason why melanoma can be detected in its early stages. If an individual is at a high risk for developing melanoma then regular skin checkups looking for any change in the characteristics of an existing mole, development of a new abnormal looking mole or any growth in the skin may be a sign of melanoma(7).
Moles are extremely benign and pose no threat. A normal mole is quite small and is dark or brown colored. They are generally raised and do not change in size or shape with time. However, if a mole starts to change in its size or shape, then it may point towards development of melanoma(7).
Changes in Mole. The common presenting features of melanoma lesion arising from a mole will make the mole asymmetric in appearance (7). The edges of the mole will not be regular, but rather notched up. The color of the mole will also change(7). Additionally, the texture of the mole will also be different from that of a normal mole.
Skin Sores with Itching & Pain. Some of the other symptoms of melanoma include development of sores, which are tough to heal, erythema and swelling on the exposed areas of the skin surface without any reason along with itching, pain and tenderness(8).
Blurry Vision & Loss of Vision. An individual with melanoma in the eyes will complain of blurred vision with even partial loss of eyesight. Dark spots in the iris can also be seen in cases of melanoma of the eyes.