What is Melanoma?
Melanocytes are the skin cells which give the skin its color. These cells contain brown pigment ‘melanin’, which is responsible for the darkening of the skin. Melanoma is a skin cancer which occurs due to the alternations in the melanoma (skin cells). It is a most serious type of cancer and spreads to the other parts of the body.
Any alteration in the size, shape or color of the moles is an indication of skin cancer. Studies have shown that more than 70 percent of the skin cancer develops from the area near a mole or any dark region on the skin. The changes in the birthmarks and moles should be considered seriously because they could be the warning signal for melanoma. Melanoma can also develop as a new mole on any body part. Following changes should be kept in mind to detect a melanoma. To find out the characteristics of melanoma consider the letters ABCD
Asymmetry: This newly developed mole has no symmetry i.e. it is asymmetrical. Symmetrical mole is almost similar from both sides. But on the other hand, asymmetrical mole is different from both sides. If you see such a mole immediately consult your doctor.
Border: The border or boundary of the cancerous mole is uneven and undefined. Normal moles have well-defined borders. Cancerous moles have blurred and fuzzy borders. These have no well-defined boundary.
Color: Color of the cancerous mole or spot is different from all other moles. It is blackish brown having patches on it Normal mole has the same color. However, the cancerous mole has patches of different color in it. Or it is also possible that different shades of a single color are present on the cancerous mole.
Diameter: The diameter of the cancerous mole changes frequently. Increase in the size of the mole is often observed. While normal mole does not increase in size and have a diameter of 6 centimeters.
Evolving: If a change in the mole occurs frequently during a month or week then there are chances that it could be a cancerous mole. Alternation or change in the mole is never good.
Mostly, melanoma develops without any pain or discomfort. But sometimes the patient may feel bleeding, itching and pain.
Melanoma mostly occurs at the different regions in different genders.
In man, skin cancer develops in the region of head, neck, and trunk.
And In Woman:
In a woman, it develops at the region of limbs i.e. legs and arms.
In most of the cases, melanoma develops in the person having light skin tone. But a person with dark skin color can also get skin cancer. Too much exposure to the sunlight, sunlamps and tanning bed causes melanoma. It is scientifically proven that ultraviolet radiation cause melanoma in the body.
- Tanning beds: indoor tanning beds are the serious threat for skin cancer. People below the age of 40 use tanning beds are 60% more at the risk of getting skin cancer. The risk increases continuously with each use.
- Blisters 5 or more due to sunburn cause skin cancer. Usually between the age group of 15 to 20 are more at the risk of developing melanoma. 80% chance of getting melanoma increases due to these blisters.
- People who live near the equator of the earth are more likely to get skin cancer than others because sun is near the equator of the earth
- Skin protection is very necessary. People who do not protect their skin from the sun exposure more frequently become a victim of skin cancer. Radiations coming from the sun are UV rays which are the major reasons of cancers, especially skin cancer.
These are the major reasons of developing skin cancer. Other reasons due to which melanoma can develop are listed below
Having light-colored skin
Blonde or red colored hair
Having light-colored eyes i.e. blue or green
Large and unusual moles
Dark patches on the skin
Family history is also one of the main factors of getting skin cancer
People who have sensitive skin are more likely to get melanoma