Because of its susceptibility to spread to other areas of the body, melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. The melanocyte cell from which this cancer arises gives it its name. Treatments can result in a very low probability of relapse or metastasis if detected early. The stage of melanoma treatment is determined by the cancer’s progression. Surgical excisions or Mohs surgery can be useful in eliminating cells from the skin in the early stages. Your doctor may propose lymph node surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy at a later time.

You can have melanoma anywhere on your body, but they are most likely to develop on parts that are exposed to the sun. However, in other rare cases, melanoma can also develop in unlikely places, such as the sole of your feet.

Melanoma first appears on an existing mole, or it may grow into a new, highly pigmented patch on your skin that does not look usual. It may not always look like a mole in the beginning. You can differentiate between a normal mole and melanoma by determining whether the mole is of uniform color. If it is and has a distinct border, then it is not melanoma.

Moles that indicate melanoma are often determined using the ABCDE ideology. You can keep the following factors in mind:

  • Asymmetrical Shape - Melanoma moles are irregular and asymmetrical.
  • Border (Irregular) - If the mole has a scalloped border or has notches, then it is likely to be melanoma.
  • Changes In Color - Melanoma has an uneven distribution of color and may have different colors within the same mole.
  • Diameter - If an old mole has grown more than 6 millimeters, then it can be alarming.
  • Evolving - Melanoma moles evolve over time, and they may change color, size and shape. You may even experience new symptoms, such as bleeding or itching.

What Causes Melanoma?

It is unclear as to what exactly causes melanoma, but there are speculations about factors that may increase the chances of developing cancer:

  • Exposure to UV
    If you have prolonged exposure to UV, whether from the sun or tanning beds, then that may increase your chances of developing melanoma.
  • Living In High Elevation Areas
    The sun's rays are directed in areas closer to the equator. This means that these areas get more exposure to UV, which can cause melanoma.
  • Family History
    Family history plays a very important role in melanoma. If any of your close relatives have melanoma, then that increases your chances.
  • Weak Immunity
    People with a compromised immune system suffer from the risks of melanoma. If you are taking immunosuppressants, then that can be the biggest cause of your melanoma.
  • Prone to Sunburn
    If you have a history of sunburns and continue to have blistering sunburns, then that can increase melanoma risks.
  • Fair Skin
    Since fair skin does not have a lot of melanin, that means that your protection against UV rays is not enough. Such people are more prone to melanoma.

How To Prevent Melanoma?

It is better to be safe than sorry; therefore, keep these factors in mind to protect yourself against melanoma.

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Use sun protection
  • Don't use a tanning bed
  • Check your skin

What Are Treatment Options?

  • Surgery
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Chemotherapy

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