What Does Nodular Melanoma Look Like?
Shape and color
What Is Nodular Melanoma?
Melanoma is considered to be one of the deadliest types of skin cancer. There have been around four to five percent of cases of skin cancers that have been diagnosed as melanoma. Most of the deaths caused by skin cancer are said to be due to melanoma. Every passing year, melanoma is known to cause a greater number of deaths than the other types of skin cancer in combination. One of the main reasons for melanoma to be so deadly is due to the fact that it often arises in places which are hard to determine, for example, inside the mouth region or near the genital region. Melanoma is known to be comprised of five subgroups, and one of these is known to be nodular melanoma. As similar to all the other melanomas, nodular melanoma tends to develop in the skin cells that are said to create a pigment known as melanin. It is known to provide the skin with its color. The second most common type of melanoma is nodular melanoma, and it is considered to be one of the most aggressive forms of melanoma.
Where Are They Found?
A few of the common locations or growth sites where one can find nodular melanoma are the head, trunk, and neck of the body. Not the same case as the other types of skin cancer, nodular melanoma is known to start or grow as new developments instead of developing or growing within a pre-existing mole. It would take a period of as little as three months’ time for these types of cancer to start spreading internally in the body. Nodular melanoma is very dangerous since it can quickly jump to the advanced stage of skin cancer. For this reason, it has been termed a deadly form of skin cancer. If the nodular melanoma reaches the advanced stage, it would become difficult to get it treated successfully.
What Does Nodular Melanoma Look Like?
In most of the skin screening instructions, they would ask you to check for the ABCD symptoms to verify the presence of skin cancer. Apart from ABCD, the E, F, G are also known to be helpful in determining the presence of nodular melanoma or some other case of melanoma.
- Asymmetry: If there is the presence of a healthy mole and if you draw a straight line through this mole, then each of the halves of the mole should look similar. In comparison to a normal mole, the melanomas are known to be asymmetrical.
- Border: An otherwise normal mole would have clearly defined borders along with its smooth edges, but in the case of a melanoma mole or a cancerous mole, it would have a border that is fuzzy as well as notched, along with scalloped edges.
- Color: When the color of the mole is abnormal, it is a definite cause for concern. Most cases of nodular melanoma would appear to be bluish-black in color, or it can also be reddish-blue in the form of a lump. In certain cases, a few of the nodules would not have any color or they would be flesh colored nodules. The flesh colored or toned nodules are also known as amelanotic nodules. These kinds of melanoma spots are known to appear in a similar color as the skin, which it has been surrounding, and the reason is due to a lack of pigment. In about five to six percent of cases of nodular melanoma, there would be an occurrence of amelanotic nodules as well.
- Diameter: If the lesion present on the skin is larger than 6 to 7 millimeters in diameter or if it is still growing, it can be a case of melanoma, which can be cancerous.
- Elevation: Certain types of skin cancers are known to start initially as a bump or it can look like a thick spot on the skin. As the name would suggest, a nodule or a dome-shaped growth that is present on the skin are the main characteristics of nodular melanoma. When there is a rise in the elevation of the skin bump, then it becomes a warning sign for the melanoma, mostly when it is nodular melanoma, and hence it should act as a red flag that something is not right and needs immediate doctor’s attention.
- Firmness: Birthmarks or moles are known to rise above the skin level and, in most of the cases, are limp or it can cave in easily when pressed, but the same is not the case with nodular melanoma. In the case of nodular melanoma sites, they are very firm when touched and they do not give in to any kind of pressure or even after pressure is applied on them with a finger.
- Growth: It has been seen that if there is the presence of nodular melanoma, they grow rather very quickly. There are new growths or freckles that develop and also stop to grow in the next few weeks’ time. If there are new developments that continue to grow rapidly after a period of two to three weeks, then it can be termed a melanoma growth.
Who Is at Risk?
Any individual who has skin that burns easily is very likely to get nodular melanoma, but it is seen as a common occurrence in males rather than in the female population, and also in those individuals who already have another type of pre-existing melanoma. If you are one of those individuals who already have a lot of moles on the body, then there are chances of getting nodular melanoma as well.
If the nodular melanoma is in the early stage, it can be treated by carrying out a surgical procedure to remove the melanoma and also a portion of the healthy skin which is surrounding the melanoma. In certain cases, the doctor can also recommend that the individual go for a lymph node biopsy so that they can verify if any of the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes section. If the melanoma has also spread to the lymph nodes region or any of the internal organs, it would require further advanced treatment options, such as the use of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.
Melanoma is something that is very difficult to treat or cure once it has begun to spread internally in other parts of the body. When the nodular melanoma has been detected, diagnosed, and treated before it starts to spread to other organs of the body, the survival rate is five years. Hence, it is important to regularly have an appointment with one’s skin doctor for screening of the skin on an annual basis. It is best if such things are detected early on. Any doubts should be addressed by the doctor, and one should note that this type of cancer is treatable if diagnosed in the early stage, hence, it is always a good idea to check with the doctor for any kind of abnormalities on the skin.