Know the ABCDEs for Detecting and Surviving Malignant Melanoma

Many people have skin spots, and most of these spots are benign—they’re not cancerous and aren’t likely to become cancerous. Some Form With Diagnosis: Melanomaspots may look like a freckle, a regular mole, or a raised bump on the skin. But if you see a new spot or one that seems to be changing, it’s important to have a doctor take a look to rule out skin cancer. 

Malignant melanoma is the most serious skin cancer and develops in the skin’s pigment cells. It’s especially dangerous because it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious, but malignant melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths. If detected early, malignant melanoma is highly curable. But if it progresses, this condition can become debilitating and prevent you from working or performing your everyday activities. If this happens, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. 

Recognizing Malignant Melanoma

Although malignant melanoma is a highly curable form of skin cancer and accounts for only one percent of skin cancers, its aggressive nature makes it especially dangerous. A malignant tumor can be found anywhere on the skin, and it can occur in places that aren’t normally exposed to the sun and are often covered by clothes and shoes. You can use the ABCDE guidelines when looking for signs of malignant melanoma. The following is an overview:

  • Asymmetry – Watch for a mole or a birthmark where one side or one-half doesn’t match in shape and size with the other side.
  • Border – Watch for a spot with ragged or irregular borders or that doesn’t form a round shape. 
  • Color – If the spot isn’t uniform in color, you may want to have it checked—especially if the spot looks black or brown with patches of blue, pink, white, or red.
  • Diameter – Check the size of the spot. If it’s bigger than a pencil eraser, it could be a melanoma.
  • Evolving – Have the spot checked if it has changed in color, size, or shape.

Malignant Melanoma and Social Security Disability

If you’ve been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, there’s no guarantee that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will approve you for benefits. You will need extensive medical records and adequate documentation about your diagnosis and treatment including lab and test results and statements from physicians. The more detail you include, the better your chances for receiving benefits.

A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you with the application process or an appeal, if needed. To learn if you qualify for disability benefits due to your skin cancer, call us at 402-933-5405.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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