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No matter what your past experience with skin problems may be, noticing a new growth on your skin is always a cause for concern, particularly if it is a fast growing skin growth. Whether it looks more like a lesion or a rash, this change in your skin should be examined by the best rated dermatologist in your area immediately. However, this is especially true if the growth resembles an atypical nevi, one of the moles that can signal skin cancer: an Australian study recently revealed that certain characteristics may be a sign that melanoma will develop faster and may become fatal.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, marked by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. While an estimated one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life, people are more likely to develop melanoma if they have more than 50 moles, or if those moles are large or unusual. However, in an article published in the December 2014 edition of the Archives of Dermatology, researchers reported that these risk factors might not accurately determine who will develop fast-developing melanoma. Instead, their study showed that this potentially fatal situation could occur in anyone.

In the study, a team of dermatologists from Melbourne asked 404 patients with invasive melanoma and their families to recall when they first noticed a spot on their skin that eventually became melanoma, and when they saw that the mole had changed. The patients’ skin was also examined, and the researchers collected additional data on demographics, skin cancer risk factors, tumor characteristics, and who had first detected the cancer. According to their research, the team determined that fast-growing melanoma is more likely to occur in those without large numbers of moles and freckles, especially the elderly. The moles that develop are more likely to be red than brown and black, symmetrical, elevated and symptomatic. Using their data to determine growth rates, the researchers also found that one-third of all of the melanomas grew less than 0.1 millimeters per month, another one-third grew between 0.1 and 0.49 millimeters per month, and the remaining one-third grew 0.5 millimeters or more per month.

The Australian report draws attention to an important fact about skin cancer and melanoma: anyone can develop these serious conditions, regardless of age, noticeable risk factors and other problems. For this reason, if you notice a fast growing change in your skin, seek out the best rated dermatologist in your area for a diagnosis. Even if the problem is not melanoma, your health could still be at risk. By making an appointment at the best rated dermatologist clinic near you immediately, you can be sure that you will get the treatment and care you need before serious consequences take effect.

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