Early detection is essential for the long-term treatment of melanoma. Lesions, or abnormal changes in the colour or texture of skin, are one of the most common warning signs of melanoma. The disease can affect a senior’s overall quality of life. Here are a few warning signs your aging loved one may have melanoma.
1. Changes in Skin Colour
Spots can appear anywhere on the body and range from bluish-black to red in colour. Precancerous lesions often have an irregular or asymmetrical border and become larger over time. Both precancerous and cancerous lesions look different than the freckles and moles on the rest of the body. The initial size of the lesion can be less than a centimeter, but the spots typically grow larger over time. To spot changes in skin colour, examine your loved one’s entire body at least once a month. Note any recently developed spots, moles, or freckles, and discuss these skin changes with your loved one’s doctor.
2. Failure to Heal
Many seniors are diagnosed in the later stages of melanoma, after the lesions have grown in size. The lesion may look like a sore, but instead of healing, it keeps reforming again and again. Wart-like growths that bleed easily and raised sores with depressions in the centre may indicate melanoma. If your loved one has a sore that persists, seek professional medical advice.
Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
3. Development of Nodules or Horns
A nodule, or a small, smooth bump, is a sign of melanoma. Nodules vary in colour, but they’re sometimes surrounded by a patch of red, scaly skin. This skin can appear shiny, or the nodule may look like an open sore. In extremely rare cases, cutaneous horns develop at the site of cancerous lesions. Cutaneous horns are dense pieces of keratin that project out of the skin, and they resemble animal horns.
Caring for a loved one with melanoma can be challenging at times. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior home care. Waterloo families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
4. Changes in Moles
Moles can become cancerous at any stage of life. Examine moles for changes in size, shape, and colour during your loved one’s monthly skin exam, and talk to the doctor if any of your loved one’s moles have become itchy or painful. If a mole becomes cancerous, the skin surrounding it can also change in texture. Have the mole professionally evaluated if the skin around it becomes discoloured, scaly, or thicker than the surrounding skin.
5. Multicoloured Lesions
One of the most common signs of melanoma is a multicoloured mole or lesion. The lesion or mole may be brown, black, red, blue, or white in colour. Some lesions are the same colour as the surrounding skin, in which case you’ll have to look for bumps or sores that develop and persist for longer than a few weeks. Have the lesion and surrounding skin examined by a skin specialist to rule out melanoma.
Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Waterloo seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (519) 954-2111 today.