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Melanoma Skin Cancer- Causes, Symptoms, Risks & Prevention

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Skin cancers caused by the affected outer layer of the skin are one of the most common types of cancers in the world. It might surprise you, but some skin cancers like melanoma originate from moles. In fact, at some stage, they can resemble any normal mole of the body. They grow fast and tend to stimulate other organs of the body as well, including bones and brain. They are dangerous!

What are the Causes of Melanoma?

Primarily, it’s because of melanocytes- the dark pigment, responsible for skin color. The development of skin cells is a regular cycle where the old skin cells are replaced by the new ones. However, when some cells develop DNA damage, the formation of new cells starts multiplying abruptly. This leads to the growth of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, one of the causes of melanoma is the intense exposure to UV light.

How Can You Identify Melanoma?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanomas are usually black or brown in color. It also develops in pink, blue, white, purple, red or skin color. Another fact is, the development of melanoma is not restricted to just skin. It can develop under the nail, in the urinary tract, vagina, mouth, digestive tract, or even eye.

What are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer- Melanoma?

Melanoma is identified from appearance if the mole possesses the following ABCDEs:

Asymmetry- Irregular shape

Border- Uneven, notched edges

Color- Non-uniform shared of brown, pink, red, brown, etc.

Diameter- Approx. 1/4th inch

Evolving- Change in shape, color, diameter of the mole over time

Other symptoms of melanoma are as follows:

  • Change in the state of an existing mole
  • The development of an unusual looking growth on your skin
  • Inward moving pigmentation spread
  • Inflammation near a mole
  • Bleeding, ooziness, scaling or any other surface change in the appearance of the mole
  • Lumped or bumped mole

Who is at Risk of Melanoma?

  • Sunburns in Past- Blistering sunburns pose the risk of having this skin cancer.
  • Excessive Exposure to Ultraviolet Light- Excessive sunbathing or tanning caused due to exposure in UV light poses the vulnerabilities to skin cancers.
  • Excess Moles Especially Unusual Moles- Having more than 50 ordinary moles or any kind or unusual moles can be a risk to melanoma.
  • Weak Immunity- Weak immune system or any organ transplants in history pose the risk of having melanoma.
  • Fair Skin- Light skin color forms weak protection against UV radiations. And as stated above, UV radiations tend to be one of the potential causes of skin cancers like melanoma.

How Can You Prevent Melanoma?

  • Avoid Exposure to Sunlight- Prevent yourself from sunburns and suntans. Avoid exposure to sunlight as the damaging rays can over time accumulate cancerous cells in your body.
  • Wear Sunscreen Regularly- Sunscreens offer utmost protection in sun and they are highly recommended by doctors especially for those who possess the risk of having melanoma.
  • Wear Protective Clothing- For maximum protection, wear clothes that cover your skin completely. Relying just on sunscreen won’t be a wise decision.
  • Regular Diagnosis- Examine your skin regularly and see your doctor at regular intervals to avoid the risks of melanoma.
  • Melanoma Prevention Diet- Include foods like eggs, fish, milk, dark green leafy vegetables, orange/yellow fruits that are retinol-rich foods in your diet.

If you notice any drastic changes in your skin, immediately report to the specialist. Melanoma is a curable cancer in its initial stages. If a specialist suspects melanoma, then biopsy of the lesion is conducted to uncover the existence and the development of cancer. Memorize the ABCDE symptoms of this disease and keep a track on the transitions happening in your skin.

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