Things You Need to Know About Melanoma

Melanoma develops when the cells that manufacture pigments for our bodies, hair and eyes develop cancer and may appear like strange moles. Skin melanoma is the most common form. Many melanomas grow quickly over weeks, while others may evolve more gradually. If detected early, melanoma can be easily treated, but if overlooked, it can spread cancer to other parts of the body and become impossible to get rid of.

Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma

Typically melanomas appear like strange moles. They may be swollen, itchy, or bleeding.

Melanomas typically have the following characteristics (called melanoma ABCDE):
Asymmetric– Not round or oval
Borders are irregular–Mole borders are blurred or poorly defined
Colors– The mole will have several colors, usually black, brown and white. There may also be brown, white, purple, pink or blue melanomas.
Diameter– Typically the mole will be greater than 6 mm (slightly larger than a pencil’s end).
Evolving– The mole growing continue to grow or change in figure

If you observe these signs on the mole that you are worrying about, please notify your physician to have it checked.

Who Are At Risk?

  • Melanoma is normal at around 25 years of age, and as you get older, the risk of getting melanoma rise.
  • 90 percent of melanoma cases can be correlated with over-exposure to UV rays during your life–sunburning, spending a lot of time outside, or sun bed radiation.
  • Those with a family history of melanoma are at greater risk, so you are at greater risk if you have family members who have had melanoma.
  • The risk of developing melanoma is higher for those with fair skin. Therefore, the Maori and Pacific Islanders have very low melanoma levels.
  • Older men are especially prone to’ nodular melanomas’ that appear like hard moles formed on the head and neck.

How to get Tested

If you’re nervous about any skin moles, see your doctor right away. Your doctor will inspect the mole in a magnifying glass to look for signs of melanoma. If melanoma is detected, the mole will usually be removed by the doctor along with a small area of the surrounding skin that will be screened for cancer cells.

You may have an MRI, ultrasound, blood tests or further biopsies to see if the cancer has spread, depending on the results.

How Can it be Treated

In some countries, it is common to remove a weird looking moles because of precautionary measures. Some doctors will recommend supplements for men to maintain the integrity of your immune system.

If the biopsy tests positive, a second biopsy will be needed to ensure that all cancer cells have been removed completely. Radiotherapy, radiation, or cancer medicines may be considered by the physicians if the cancer evolves to later stages.

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