Melanoma Signs and Symptoms

In the beginning stages of melanoma, symptoms are often very subtle.

The first warning signs of skin cancer are usually visual. Checking your moles for changing characteristics is a good practice.

The first warning signs are usually visual; patients rarely experience any pain or discomfort.

Melanoma warning signs are often referred to by the popular “ABCD” acronym. If a mole displays any of the following characteristics, it’s best to consult with a physician for evaluation and testing:

  • Asymmetry. Does the mole have two parts that look very different?
  • Border. Does the mole have an irregular border?
  • Color. Does the mole have different colors, such as tan, brown and black?
  • Diameter. Is the mole larger than 6 mm in diameter?

Some melanomas do not involve an asymmetrical, irregular, unusually colored or excessively large mole. Certain types of melanoma can look like a small brown or black streak underneath a toenail or fingernail, while other types can look like an ordinary bruise that doesn’t heal over time. Just as some melanomas do not display any of the traditional warning signs, it’s also possible for some perfectly healthy moles to have an irregular appearance.

With late-stage melanoma, patients may begin to experience certain uncomfortable symptoms. These melanoma symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Oozing and/or crusting
  • Pain and irritation

Because these symptoms may indicate melanoma, they should be immediately discussed with a dermatologist or oncologist who specializes in skin cancer. Regular dermatologist visits can make it much more likely for abnormal moles to be properly detected and diagnosed. Melanoma screenings, such as those performed at Moffitt Cancer Center and at Moffitt’s mobile, community Mole Patrol®, can also improve a patient’s chance of early diagnosis, should an abnormality occur.

Moffitt Cancer Center is known for its Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center of Excellence. Ours is one of the leading melanoma programs in the state, employing more than 30 world-renowned physician researchers who lead the way in investigating and developing new treatments for the prevention and cure of melanoma. Because of our physicians’ unparalleled level of expertise, those with symptoms or signs of melanoma can turn to Moffitt with confidence to receive comprehensive treatment and support.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we can assess any abnormal skin growth – whether it is symptomatic or not. No referral is necessary to meet with our team; simply call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form.