How to distinguish melanoma from a birthmark, for what symptoms

  • September 30, 2018
  • InMoles

Melanoma is a mole - the concepts are interrelated. On a body of each person it is possible to find out birthmarks. These are benign formations that consist of epithelial cells in which there is a lot of melanocyte. Melanoma is called education, which has a malignant character and develops from pigmented skin cells. In most cases, it is formed on the site of the nevus. What are the exact causes of its occurrence is still not known.



  • 1Feature of melanoma
  • 2How to recognize melanoma
  • 3Prevention

Feature of melanoma


Melanoma can develop from melanocytes of the epithelium or regenerate from a mole. It can occur anywhere, but most often it is detected in open areas of the body (limbs, neck, face). Its insidiousness lies in the fact that the tumor is capable of metastasizing and damaging the lymph nodes, the liver, the brain and other vital organs very quickly.

To the risk factors, which result in the degeneration of melanoma from the mole, include:

  • frequent irradiation with ultraviolet (visiting the solarium o
    r staying in the open sun);
  • I or II type of skin;
  • the formation on the body of freckles in large numbers or moles (more than 50);
  • presence of atypical moles;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • sunburn, especially acquired in childhood;
  • development of benign tumors;
  • radioactive radiation;
  • frequent contact with toxic, chemical substances;
  • trauma on the skin (scars, scars from burns);
  • age (over 30 years).

There may be melanoma after removal of the mole.

There are several types of melanoma:

  1. Superficial. Diagnosed most often and is in the upper layers of the skin.
  2. Lentigo - an education that develops on the skin of the neck or head and slightly protrudes above its surface. In the main, elderly patients are exposed to it.
  3. Nodular melanoma. Its distinguishing features are dark nodules of various sizes. This kind of tumor is the most aggressive and develops very quickly.
  4. Subungual - occurs in every tenth patient with a diagnosis of melanoma. It occurs under the nail plate of the lower limbs.

There are 4 stages of malignant tumor development:

  1. The cells of the epithelium or nevus are reborn and look like a spot with uneven edges or a bright knot that is clearly visible above the surface of the skin.
  2. The thickness of the lesion exceeds 2 mm and can bleed.
  3. The thickness and area of ​​melanoma spread unevenly, gradually hitting healthy cells and adjacent lymph nodes.
  4. Melanoma has a negative effect on all lymph nodes and internal organs, disrupting their work.

How to recognize melanoma

Melanomas are considered to be one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, so it is important for every person to know what a malignant formation looks like and what symptoms it causes.

How to distinguish a birthmark from melanoma? Doctors recommend periodically to examine the skin to see if it has new neoplasms or unusual nevi.

If you compare melanoma with nevus, then the latter will have such characteristic features:

  • size (usually does not exceed 6 mm);
  • symmetrical and smooth edge of the surface;
  • monochrome color without any impregnations;
  • absence of nodules or cracks;
  • matte surface, covered with hairs;
  • in the place of a birthmark a person does not experience any discomfort.

Signs of degeneration of moles in melanoma:

  • the appearance of an asymmetric edge;
  • increase in the size or compaction of the nevus;
  • change in the form of education;
  • changes in color, appearance of pigmentation;
  • the contour of education becomes uneven and blurred;
  • around the birthmark there is inflammation of the halo;
  • surrounding tissues become abnormal;
  • the surface of the mole becomes glossy;
  • the absence of hairs as opposed to the usual mole;
  • changing the structure of the mole;
  • the appearance of cracks and nodules on the surface of the nevus;
  • pain, itching, burning and other unpleasant symptoms in this area;
  • In contrast to the usual mole, melanoma can bleed.
Knowing how to distinguish melanoma from a birthmark, any patient can always independently identify a tumor. Noticing any change in the degenerated nevus, it is important to immediately consult a doctor, since you can cure such a tumor only at the initial stage of its development. Approximately 80% of cases, the detection of melanoma in the late stages, ends with the death of the patient.

How quickly does melanoma develop from a mole?

This can happen in different ways and depends on the type of tumor.

  1. Horizontal - only the upper layer of the epithelium is affected, it can develop up to 10 years without metastases.
  2. Vertical - the neoplasm develops into the deeper layers of the skin with the spread of malignant cells to all internal organs. Such melanoma has an unfavorable prognosis of development. The maximum period of development is up to 2 years.
  3. Nodal. This species is considered the most aggressive. In just a few months, the tumor penetrates into the deep layers and affects the entire body, which leads to the death of the patient.



If certain changes in the nevus have been identified, it is important to immediately visit a doctor who, knowing the difference in these formations, will be able to determine this birthmark or melanoma.

To protect yourself from the situation when the birthmark can be reborn, it is necessary to adhere to certain rules:

  1. Regularly undergo preventive examinations with a doctor. For ordinary birthmarks, it is enough to do an examination once a year, for atypical ones, on the recommendation of a doctor.
  2. Avoid injury to moles. Provoke any development of malignant education is any irritation.
  3. Sunbathing in the open sun is allowed only until 10 am and after 17 hours. Thus it is necessary to use protective creams.
  4. Refuse to visit the solarium.
  5. If there are a large number of moles on the body, it is allowed to use only soft sponges for bathing or to refuse them altogether.
It is known that polyester provides the most reliable protection against ultraviolet radiation. While flax and cotton delays no more than 20% of the sun's rays. At the same time clothes made of dark fabrics are able to protect from the sun better than light. In hot weather, it is better to choose clothing of loose cut from dense matter.

Knowing how to identify a malignant formation on the body, anyone can regularly conduct examinations themselves. If you notice any signs of melanoma, you should immediately consult a doctor. The earlier a tumor is diagnosed, the more likely the patient will have a favorable outcome.


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