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07 Aug 2019

Melanomais one type of skin cancer. It islesscommonthan basal and squamouscell skin cancer, but itcanbe the mostsevere and causes the greatestnumber of deaths as itis more likely to spread or metastasize. This form of skin cancer occurswhen pigment producingcells, calledmelanocytes, most of which are found in the skin, mutate and becomecancerous. Melanomacanalsooccur in the eyes (ocularmelanoma) and in other parts of the body, including, rarely, the intestines.

The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but theycanalsobepink, red, purple, blue or white.

The causes

Riskfactors for melanomaincludeoverexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, lamps, and tanningbeds. Cancer cellsdevelopwhenunrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations that cause skin cells to multiplyrapidly and formmalignanttumors in pigment-producingmelanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis.

If melanomaisrecognized and treatedearly, itisalmostalways curable, but if itis not, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. If so, itbecomes fatal and difficult to treat. It isworthmentioningthat the risk of gettingmelanomaincreaseswithage.


There are four types of melanoma:

- The superficialmelanomais the mostcommon type. It oftenappears on the trunk or limbs.

- Nodularmelanomais the second mostcommon type. It appears on the trunk, head or neck.

- Melanoma of lentigo islesscommon and usually affects the elderly. It isoftenlessdangerousthanother types.

- Acrallentiginousmelanomais the rarest type of melanoma and does not appear to berelated to sunexposure. It uAncresuallyappears on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet or under the nails and mostoften affects people withdarker skin.


Melanomascandevelopanywhere on your body, mostoften in areas exposed to the sun, such as the back, legs, arms and face, but also in areas withlowsunexposure, such as the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands and the bed for the nails.

As withotherforms of cancer, early stages of melanomacanbedifficult to detect. It is important to actively look for signs of change on the skin. The first signs of melanomamaybe in the form of a stain or sore thatbecomespainful, a skin sore thatdoes not heal, or a flat, rough, dry or scalyred spot or alterations in the appearance of the skin. skin (change in color, shape or size of a current spot or mole or the appearance of a new spot or mole).

Unusual moles mayindicatemelanoma. Cancer moles have a very variable appearance. Look for irregularlyshapedmoles;irregularborders, notched or festooned, the growthshavingmanycolors or an uneven distribution of colors. The size of the mole maybe a sign of melanoma. Moles thatevolverapidly or change color orshapemaybe indicative of the presence of cancer cells. Look especially for new growth in a mole largerthan 1/4 inch.

And if any of hissymptomsoccur, contact yourdoctor as soon as possible.