A man is distressed to see a large nodular mass coming out of his shoulder. The mass also forms the bottom part of an exclamation point above the shoulder.

Nodular Melanoma Warning

Last updated: May 2020

It is very important that you read and understand this. Beware of nodular melanoma. Once again, beware of nodular melanoma. Of course we know that all forms of melanoma are extremely dangerous and all forms of skin cancer can be life-changing, but this one is different. It is more deadly and thus, we should all be more diligent about it.

Nodular melanoma is particularly deadly

Nodular melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer because it grows quickly and is often unnoticed until it has caused a lot of damage. It accounts for 15-25% of melanoma diagnoses and is usually invasive by the time a doctor is consulted. This insidious form of the disease penetrates deeply into the skin rather than spreading along the top layer first. This gives cancer cells more opportunity to reach the bloodstream and spread to other organs. Ugh!

Nodular melanoma is particularly sneaky

Nodular melanomas appear like bumps that stick out above the skin. These bumps are called polypoids and tend to develop where there were no previous moles or lesions. The bump is normally black (and more noticeable), but here is the especially dangerous part. It may be blue, gray, white, brown, tan, red, or the same color as surrounding skin. It can appear like a mushroom with a stalk. The surface may be smooth or crusty and may bleed, but will usually feel firm to the touch.

Nodular melanoma is no respecter of persons

These polypoids are more common in men and people over 60. But, it can affect people of any age. They can develop on any area of the body, but are most common on the chest, back, legs and face. So, let’s sum this up. Nodular melanoma can appear on most parts of the body to anyone and have multiple appearances. This confirms something that I have known all along.

Nodular melanoma can be recognized and treated

This confirms the importance of regular self-checks and regular doctor’s appointments. If you notice ANY changes to your skin and have a question, get it checked out. It is not just about changes in moles, but any noticeable changes that seem out of the ordinary. The insidious nature of this form of melanoma requires diligence and follow up.

Apply this knowledge

As a middle-aged man, I know many peers who do not and will not see physicians. I learned the lesson very early that I am not invincible and that I need others’ expertise, training, and care to deal with my skin cancer challenges. Just yesterday I saw my dermatologist again because I noticed a changed in my skin. I am having a biopsy and while the doctor thinks it is benign, it is better to be “safe than sorry.”

Do your own research

Please do your own research on nodular melanoma so that you can see photos for comparison. It is critical that you take responsibility for your skin not only in prevention but in diagnosis and treatment. This dual threat is the best way I know to beat melanoma, especially these deadly polypoids.

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