What is Melanoma
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes. It is potentially dangerous because it can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body, such as the lung, liver, bone, or brain. The earlier that melanoma is detected and removed, the more likely that treatment will be successful.
Most melanocytes are in the skin, and melanoma can occur on any skin surface. It can develop from a common mole or dysplastic nevus, and it can also develop in an area of apparently normal skin. In addition, melanoma can also develop in the eye, the digestive tract, and other areas of the body.
When melanoma develops in men, it is often found on the head, neck, or back. When melanoma develops in women, it is often found on the back or on the lower legs.
People with dark skin are much less likely than people with fair skin to develop melanoma. When it does develop in people with dark skin, it is often found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of the hands, or on the soles of the feet.
Source: National Cancer Institute
What does Melanoma look like?
Melanoma is a type of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). Melanoma can also start in the eye, the intestines, or other areas of the body with pigmented tissues.
Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole. However, melanoma may also appear as a new mole. People should tell their doctor if they notice any changes on the skin. The only way to diagnose melanoma is to remove tissue and check it for cancer cells.
Source: National Cancer Institute
Thinking of “ABCDE” can help you remember what to look for:
Asymmetry: The shape of one half does not match the other half.
Border that is irregular: The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.
Diameter: There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than the size of a pea (larger than 6 millimeters or about 1/4 inch).
Evolving: The mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.
Melanomas can vary greatly in how they look. Many show all of the ABCDE features. However, some may show changes or abnormal areas in only one or two of the ABCDE features.
In more advanced melanoma, the texture of the mole may change. The skin on the surface may break down and look scraped. It may become hard or lumpy. The surface may ooze or bleed. Sometimes the melanoma is itchy, tender, or painful.
Miiskin is a mobile health company based in Copenhagen, Denmark – that empowers people to manage their own health with mole surveillance and working on innovating the process of the important early detection of skin cancer.
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Professor in Dermatology
Computer Vision Advisor
Professor, Ph.D, Medical Image Analysis
Malignant Melanoma cases are still on the rise. Most often, the best person to notice any changes in your skin is you. Everything that can help make people attentive to new moles and changes in old moles is therefore welcome.
Miiskin’s apps are a help in monitoring moles and seem to be both useful and sensible.
The apps allow the user to systematically follow any brown spot in a simple and straightforward manner. The next logical step would be to give physicians access to the images to provide the important new dimension of “evolution over time” to the medical decision.
It is very positive and inspires confidence that Miiskin’s apps do not try to assess whether any given spot could be malignant or not – but leave physicians to do the assessments based on a complete assessment of the spot as well as the patient.
Gregor Jemec, MD, DMSc
Professor, University of Copenhagen