What You Need to Know About Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which starts its growth from the melanocytes. The Melanocytes are cells located in different parts of the body like the epidermis, the uvea of the eye, in the eye, the bones and in the heart. Melanocyte cells function in the skin to produce melanin which is responsible for our  skin color or skin pigment.

1. Causes of melanoma

Melanoma occurs when melanin cells are unhealthy or there is a an abnormal production of melanin cells. There has been no definitive proven cause of the production of abnormal melanin cells, but high exposure to ultra violet radiation has been greatly associated with melanoma. Ultraviolet radiation could emanate from the sun, tanning lamps and tanning beds.

2. Symptoms of melanoma

Melanoma develops not only in the skin but in all parts of the body where the melanocyte cells are found. Here are a few symptoms associated with melanoma:

  • Development of colored pigments on the skin
  • Moles which where already existing on the skin tend to change their color
  • Development of new moles with irregular shapes, different colors, larger in size and regularly tend to change their color on the skin
  • Moles on skin become itchy, and may tend to bleed

3. Treatment of melanoma

In the early stages of melanoma, surgery is carried out to remove developing melanoma. The tissue beneath the formed moles and the skin in the affected area might also be removed alongside cancer. But in cases where cancer spreads to other organs, surgery is needed to remove the affected organs.

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Other effective melanoma treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Targeted therapy

4. Prevention of melanoma

Melanoma and other skin cancers can be easily prevented with the following practices:

  • Avoid spending long hours under the sun
  • Wear clothes that cover the skin to avoid sun exposure
  • Avoid tanning lamps and tanning beds
  • Take time to examine your skin regularly to immediately notice new and abnormal moles
  • Immediate treatment should be taken to avoid progression and spreading of the cancer

Image courtesy of: lespritclinic.com.

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