BACKGROUND: Nodular (NM) and superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) show different disease trajectories, with more rapid development in NM and fewer opportunities for early detection often resulting in worse outcomes. Our study described the patient-identified early signs of thin NM via comparisons to thin (= 2mm) SSM and thick (>2mm) NM.METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with NM and SSM patients and analyzed the data using thematic analysis.RESULTS: We enrolled 34 NM and 32 SSM patients. Melanoma early signs uniquely identified by patients with thin NM included white, blue or black coloration, "dot-like" size, fast changes in shape and color observed over 2weeks, elevation and texture or "puffiness" over 6-12months, and the sensation that the mole "did not feel right". Early signs reported by both thin NM and thin SSM patients included round or oblong shape, "jagged" border, pink/red, brown/reddish or dark coloration, "elevated like a pimple" or "tiny bump", fast color darkening, diameter growth, and border irregularity, and mole feeling "really itchy".CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence that early signs of NM can be self-identified, which has important implications for the earlier detection of this most aggressive type of melanoma by both health professionals and patients.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12885-021-08072-4
View details for PubMedID 33827477