Doctors, including dermatologists, are doing their best to warn the public about a growing cancer threat that often goes unnoticed or misdiagnosed due to its resemblance to a common skin irritation.
Nodular melanoma starts out as a hard bump that’s red in color and a casual glance is enough for most to write it off as a pimple or bump from an ingrown hair.
That explains why it’s responsible for killing thousands of unsuspecting people each year who ignore what tends to look like such an unassuming red bump.
Melanoma accounts for nearly half of the nation’s skin cancer deaths, but only accounts for about 15 percent of melanoma cases, which makes it one of the least common, but most deadly forms of skin cancer.
Non-specialist physicians may miss cases of melanoma, especially the rare nodular melanoma bumps that can prove to be fatal. Dermatologists, doctors who focus on the skin, have an increased chance of identifying what could be a life-threatening case of melanoma.
“Lack of pigmentation is a key reason for failure to recognize these unusual presentations as melanoma,” said John Kelly, an Associate Professor at the Australasian College of Dermatologists. “This kind of melanoma we see more often in older men and on the head and neck rather than trunk and limbs, but that’s just a slight preference it’s not that they all occur in older men.”
Kelly explained that while dermatologists don’t want to cause mass hysteria among those who have what are typically harmless bumps on their body, there are a few key indicators that should send you running to the nearest dermatologist.
“If it has has been present for more than a month and grows bigger and bigger, it needs urgent removal,” Kelly said.
Less than half of nodular melanoma cases are diagnosed correctly and Kelly explained that it’s important for doctors to be aware of what he calls “unusual presentations” on the skin. (H/T Mad World News)
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other known cancers combined.