Skin spots can range from being completely benign to a sign of skin cancer. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many women and men are unsure if they have a harmless age spot or a serious melanoma.
So, how can you tell when a spot is cause for concern?
Continue reading to learn the differences between melanoma and age spots.
Age spots, often referred to as liver spots, are flat brown, black, or yellow spots on the skin. They are the result of prolonged sun exposure and UV damage and are most common in women and men that are 50 and older.
It’s also important to note that age spots are not cancerous or dangerous. However, if you are concerned about a pigmented lesion, it’s best to schedule a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist.
Age spots typically fall into three categories:
Cherry hemangiomas are red spots that are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser. They can occur anywhere on the body and are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels.
Lentigines tend to resemble freckles and present as flat tan/dark spots in sun-exposed areas. Size can range from that of a pencil eraser to a dime.
Seborrheic keratoses have a wart-like appearance and can be flat or raised. They may be pale, dark brown, or black and are the result of age, genetics, and/or sun exposure.
Melanoma is one of the rarest forms of skin cancer, but also the deadliest. Accordingly, early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma are essential.
Patients that notice a changing mole should immediately seek medical attention from their dermatologist.
The ABC’s of melanoma can help patients be aware of pigmented spots that require further investigation. Please carefully monitor your skin for the following:
Asymmetry in shape, with one side typically being larger than the other
Color changes, especially spots that are very dark or multi-colored
Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser. However, it is possible for melanoma to be smaller.
Evolution of the spot. You should regularly examine your skin for changes and suspected melanomas.
If you are concerned about a suspicious skin spot and can’t tell the difference between melanoma and age spots, please contact the Vein Center or Maryland today to schedule a consultation.