Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma

Moles (benign growths of melanocytes) are far more common than melanomas, and differentiating between these can be difficult, even for experts. Any growth on the skin that is new or changing is best evaluated by your health-care provider. Additionally, itching (pruritus) of a new or existing mole, ulceration or bleeding from a mole can be early symptoms of melanoma.

The following "ABCDE" guidelines can help determine the need for additional evaluation:

  • Asymmetry - one half of the spot does not match the other
  • Border Irregularity - the edges are uneven or blurred
  • Color - the color is uneven or has shades of different colors
  • Diameter - the area is more than five millimeters in size (about the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving - changing in any way including bleeding, itching or appearance

For more information or to schedule a surgical consultation with a melanoma specialist at Virginia Mason, in Seattle, call (206) 223-6831.