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Melanoma: symptoms, stages, and treatment

By Christian Healthcare Ministries
Living Well
Melanoma- Symptoms, stages, and treatment

May is melanoma and skin cancer awareness month, with the first Monday in May being dubbed “Melanoma Monday.”

This month highlights the importance of learning prevention techniques, how to recognize symptoms, and discovering support networks and treatment options if you’re diagnosed. Know that no matter what’s to come, you can rest in the healing peace of Christ and cry out to Him in any time of need.

Melanoma cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all the possible types of cancer. However, melanoma is only a very small percentage of typically diagnosed types.

So, what is melanoma? It’s a variation of cancer that occurs when melanocytes (cells that impact skin color), behave differently than they are supposed to. It can spread throughout the body quickly, which is why early detection, and prevention, are crucial.

According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, melanoma spots can occasionally be colorless and instead appear as pink spots or bumps. Additionally, they state that even if you stay out of the sun, up to 30% of cases can still occur. It’s important to stay aware and recognize the signs and symptoms of melanoma to be prepared.

Melanoma symptoms

If you experience any change in the color, size, or texture of your skin pattern, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical provider. If at any point a portion of the skin appears to look completely different from the surrounding area, it’s also a good idea to ask your doctor for more direction.

The American Cancer Society has created the “ABCDE” rule  as a suggestion of how to be on the lookout for any melanoma spots:

  • A: Asymmetry: does one half of the mole or spot not match the other?
  • B: Border: are the edges irregular or abnormal?
  • C: Color: are there differences in skin shade?
  • D: Diameter: is the size growing?
  • E: Evolving: is the spot, mole, or area changing?
melanoma symptoms. CHM

According to the Moffitt Cancer Center , there are several other symptoms that could occur for early stage melanoma:

  • A scaly patch of skin
  • A mole that changes in size, shape, or color
  • Itchy, tender skin or nodules under the skin
  • A patch of skin, such as a sore, rash, or bump that isn’t healing

Melanoma causes different symptoms, depending on its stage. Later stages may include symptoms such as bleeding, itching, or other types of irritation. Metastatic melanoma occurs when the melanoma spreads to other areas of the body. The signs and symptoms that correlate with this stage depend on the body part that the cancer has reached. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between regular and cancerous moles or skin areas, and to check with a doctor when any questions or signs might arise.

Daily life: Prevention

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD),  asserts that skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. They recommend conducting regular self-exams, getting screened by a medical professional, and using safe sun-exposure practices. Additionally, the Skin Cancer Foundation  provides some quick tips to enjoy soaking up some rays—in a safe way:

  • Avoid getting sunburned and seek shade, especially in the hottest parts of the day
  • Apply 2 tablespoons of at least 15 SPF sunscreen every day, and 30 SPF sunscreen when spending extended time outdoors
  • Don’t go tanning or to a tanning bed
  • Examine your skin regularly, and get a skin exam from a medical professional

In addition to these tips for melanoma cancer prevention, stay educated about the latest news, signs, symptoms, and treatments. It’s important to learn about different types of medical incidents so that you’re already prepared. Check out articles by Dr. Michael Jacobson, CHM’s Medical Director, for more tips and helpful information!

Know that no matter what you’re facing—you don’t have to face it alone.


If you, a family member, or a friend has been recently diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, or if you’re worried about a potential diagnosis in the future, know that no matter what you’re facing—you don’t have to face it alone.

Christ is there in the midst of every trial. He is faithful and kind to provide peace in the storms of life. He is the ultimate source of hope, peace, and healing. God knows and cares about every circumstance, even melanoma.

Choose to intentionally seek out support. Opportunities abound to discover biblical community—just take a quick search online to see all your choices. Look for digital cancer support communities, such as our CHM General Cancer Facebook group for members. Ask your doctor or pastor if they have suggestions or know of any local support groups you could join.

If worrying about potential medical costs for a future diagnosis is weighing heavy on your heart, know that you have options! Our Brother’s Keeper  program is a safeguard against catastrophic illness or injury. It’s important to know that you need to join before a medical incident occurs. Brother’s Keeper enables CHM members to meet medical bills that exceed the $125,000 limit per illness specified in the CHM Guidelines. It’s a low-cost way to have peace of mind if a melanoma cancer diagnosis occurs in the future.

For melanoma and any other medical condition, the best treatment is prevention, so stay aware, go for regular skin exams, and contact your medical provider if you notice anything unusual. With these tools and tips, you’ll be ready for whatever might come your way!

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Christian Healthcare Ministries
Christian Healthcare Ministries and its members help carry the load for their brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting the spiritual values outlined in Galatians 6:2.