Melanomas of the head and neck in American and Canadian youth have increased 51% over the past 20 years, according to a recent study reported in this WebMD article. The findings underscore the importance of melanoma prevention campaigns.
Although head and neck melanoma make up only one in every five cases of melanoma, the survival rates are much lower than for other melanomas. This type of melanoma affects teens and young adults more because of the popularity of indoor tanning and exposure to the sun.
Early detection is critical. Park Avenue Dermatology has a team of dermatologists specializing in comprehensive skin cancer screening and treatment.
Is It Melanoma?
The following are warning signs that you need to contact your doctor immediately:
Melanomas tend to be as asymmetrical, so if you have a mole which is a different shape on one half vs. the other, this is a warning sign.
Most moles have smooth, even borders. Melanomas, on the other hand, are frequently irregular, with scalloped, uneven edges.
Another warning sign of melanoma is the color of the mole. Melanomas often have several colors, like black, tan, and brown. Common moles generally have one shade of brown. A mole that is very dark also needs evaluation.
If you discover a mole that is larger than the size of a pencil eraser, contact your dermatologist to have it examined. Early detection is critical with melanoma, so keep an eye out for all of the warning signs, regardless of the size of the mole.
Changing or Evolving Mole
If you notice a mole that is different in appearance from all the other moles on your body, it may be melanoma. If you have an existing mole and you notice it changes, whether in appearance, or size, or texture, it can be a sign of melanoma.
How can you spot melanoma?
One of the best ways of early detection is looking for it. If you examine your body every month, you will begin to notice how your moles look. You are your own best health advocate.
If you notice changes, you have a better chance of catching melanoma in the early stages. Your hairstylist might notice something on your scalp that you can report to your doctor.
Although melanoma can be deadly, with early detection and treatment, the survival rate is very high. Contact us at Park Avenue Dermatology today to schedule an appointment, especially if you notice a changing mole or a sore that isn’t healing.
(Study originally reported in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery)