Skin Cancer: Things you should know about Melanoma

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer. It usually happens when people are exposed to UV rays for a long time. Here's everything that you should know about Melanoma, which is also the 19th most dreadful cancer in the world.
Skin Cancer: Things you should know about MelanomaSkin Cancer: Things you should know about Melanoma
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Melanoma is a common type of cancer and one of the most dreadful cancers in the world. This type of cancer develops in the cells responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is a pigment that determines the colour of your skin. As per the research, the risk of melanoma is increasing in individuals below 40 years of age. Melanoma is also the deadliest type of skin cancer. 


About 90% of Melanoma cases is believed to be caused by sun exposure. Melanoma is divided into four different types. Based on its intensity, and severity, here are the different types of Melanoma. 


Types of Melanoma:

Superficial Spreading Melanoma: This one is the most common type of melanoma. It majorly affects the arms, legs, chest, and back.


Nodular Melanoma: This type of Melanoma spreads rapidly in comparison to other types of melanomas. Nodular melanoma is likely to lose colour as it grows, turning red from black.


Lentigo Maligna Melanoma: It's found in older people who have been exposed to the sun for a longer time. It is rare and is mostly found on the face and neck. 


Acral Lentiginous Melanoma: This is the rarest type and can be found on the palms, soles of the feet, or under the nails. 


Stages of Melanoma

Stage 0: In this stage,  cancer is restricted to the outer layer of the skin. It is known as melanoma in situ.


Stage 1: Cancer progresses to stage 1 if it is 2 mm thick. It doesn't spread to the lymph nodes or other sites. 


Stage 2: In this stage, cancer will at least be 1.01 mm thick and may progress to being thicker than 4 mm.


Stage 3: In this stage, cancer spreads to one or more of the lymph nodes. Original cancer may not be visible anymore. But if it's visible, it will be thicker than 4 mm. 


Stage 4: In this stage, cancer progresses further and spreads to organs like the brain, lungs, and/or liver.


It can be difficult to detect melanoma in its early stages. Hence, it is important to keep checking your skin for changing signs.


Melanoma Signs and Symptoms: 

  1. If you spot these symptoms or signs, then you must visit the doctor immediately. 
  2. Change in the colour of the existing mole/spot. 
  3. The existing spot/mole has become itchy, painful and is bleeding. 
  4. Spot/Lump that looks shiny, patchy or waxy. 
  5. A spot that is flat and red with a rough, dry, or scaly surface. 
  6. The above symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have melanoma. However, it's better to visit the doctor to rule out the actual cause. 


Melanoma Risk Factors:


History of sunburn, excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun or the lights, weak immune system, advancing age, a family history of melanoma, or have fair skin. Fair skin complexion means that your skin has less melanin. Hence, you are at a higher risk of developing melanoma as compared to those with darker complexions. Melanoma is quite scary, and one of the best ways to reduce the risk of this cancer is to avoid UV rays and exposure to the sun as much as possible. 


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