What is melanoma?

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, it is developed in melanocytes which produce melanin which is the pigment that gives your skin color. These pigments are found in the basal layer of the epidermis.

What causes melanoma? Who is affected?

The main cause of melanoma is unknown, but what is known is that excess exposure to ultraviolet light radiation from sunlight or tanning beds and lamps increase the risk of getting melanoma. Genetic factors also play a large role. There are also many other unknown factors that can lead to melanoma. Both men and women are affected by melanoma. Skin cancer develops when one of the three cells that make up your skin reproduce abnormally.

What are the symptoms of melanoma?

Possible symptoms of melanoma include a mole that progressively gets bigger; small, dark, and multicolored spots that are either elevated or flat that could bleed and form a scab; a cluster of shiny bumps on the skin or a mole bigger than a pencil eraser.

An easy way to remember the signs of melanoma are the ABCDEs: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, changes in Color, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, Evolution of a mole’s characteristics.

How is melanoma treated?

Melanoma treatment depends on the size of the mole and the severity of the cancer. It also depends on the person’s personal preference and how they want to handle the cancer. It is best to treat melanoma during the early stages. Treatments during the early stages usually includes surgery to remove melanoma. If melanoma has spread beyond the skin there are many treatments such as biological therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant. Each of these treatments deal with a certain part of the body.