Melanoma, also known as black tumor, is a type of skin cancer that starts from the melanocyte cells and eventually spreads to other parts of the body. Most of these cancerous cells are black or brown in color due to the presence of melanocytes.
However, there are also times when the cells stop producing the coloring pigment and are therefore pink, red or purple in color. The cancer can affect any part of the body. While men are prone to this cancer in and around their trunk, women are likely to develop them around the legs and arms.
In the following section, we will give you a detailed insight on everything that you wanted to know about melanoma.
Melanoma can start from a mole
According to studies, about 30% of melanoma are likely to begin from the existing moles or other darkened spots of the skin. The melanoma, which then develops, happens to grow quickly and can spread into any organ easily.
The eventual success of treatment completely depends on the size and the depth of the carcinogenic cell. Due to this reason it is extremely important to detect melanoma quickly. Certain melanomas usually grow around the outward part, along the skin’s surface. Some of them also vertically spread into the deep layers of the skin.
Change in the skin
One of the most common ways to identify skin cancer is from a change in the skin. This is all the more relevant if you have a new sore that does not heal easily. At times, skin cancer appears in the form of a patch, an open sore, a raised bump or even a mole.
These sores and cuts usually take a bigger shape and lead to a serious issue in the long run. So if you happen to spot any mark or undulated surface around your skin, it would be a good decision to consult a doctor right away.
Identifying a cancerous tumor
In order to identify a cancerous tumor, you will have to know the a,b,c,d,e of melanoma.
Here, the A suggests asymmetry, which means the structure of one half of that mole or undulated surface is not similar to the other half of it.
B suggests border which further refers that the border or the edge of the pimple/mole are tattered, blurred or somehow ragged.
C implies color, which further means that the color of the mole is usually uneven, with a shade of black, grey red or brown.
D suggests diameter, which implies that the size of the cancerous mole is usually large in shape. In most cases, it is even larher than the tip of pencil erasers.
E refers to the evolving pattern of the mole which further means that the mole changes its size, shape and color.
As you know the A,B, C, D, E of melanoma, identifying and eventually getting it diagnosed will be easier. In any situation, if you happen to spot this tumor, consult a doctor immediately. Overlooking the issue, might amplify your problem.
Ugly duckling sign
At times, you will find that the melanoma does not fit the ABCDE rule. But that doesn’t mean you can overlook it. If you happen to get any mole at any part of your skin, make it a point to closely observe the changes.
You can also use the ugly duckling method that implies that melanoma causing moles are the ones which look different from many other similar looking moles on your skin. The odd one out will be the ugly duckling or the cancerous mole. In this case too, consult a doctor and try to understand the extent of the cancer.
Overexposure to sunlight causes melanoma
Although the causes of melanoma are varied, most medical experts suggest that the main cause of this issue is excessive exposure to sunlight. On constant exposure to the sun, your skin is likely to burn and even get blisters.
This in turn, paves way for melanoma. According to most researchers, the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun are likely to damage your skin. They further suggest that over a period of consistent exposure to sunlight, an individual can be diagnosed with skin cancer. It is therefore highly recommended to use sun screen and similar other lotions and ointments while going out in the sun.
People with more risks
Although anyone can develop skin cancer or melanoma, usually people who have had melanoma earlier have a possibility of developing it again.
Other than that, individuals with fair skin, blonde or red hair, freckles, blue eyes and pimples can also develop melanoma. This cancer is also widely observed in people who have a history of consistent exposure to the sun. This includes tans, taking sunburns and similar other things at the time of their youth.
This is also particularly relevant for people who have extensively taken tans. People with more than one moles (atypical moles), people with a genetic history of skin cancer and people with a relatively weaker immune system can also develop melanoma. Although malignant melanoma is relatively more common among the Caucasians, it can always occur in people of almost all skin types.
Non-white people usually experience melanoma, because their skin contains less pigment. For such people, it is likely to develop around the palms, mucous membrane, sole and nail. Although in most cases, melanoma happens to be inherent, there are also many situations where you can control or restrain yourself from indulging in activities that are likely to increase the risk of melanoma.
Causes maximum death
Although melanoma usually constitutes about 4% of almost all skin cancers, yet it accounts for more than 80% of all deaths related to skin cancer. In the US, about 1-2% deaths happen every year due to melanoma.
Although this cancer is usually seen in adults, it is also, at times, found in young adults and children. For women between the age group of 25 to 29, it is one of the most common types of cancer. It is also equally common among women belonging to the age group of 30 to 34. Men are also affected by this cancer, and it is usually seen in men between the age 30 to 49.