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Understanding Melanoma: Symptoms, Causes, and More!

Melanoma is a severe disease and needs to be talked about. Even though it is not common, it is essential to know about it and how you can take steps to prevent it. If you require a check-up or need to get treatment for melanoma in Flemington, specialists at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology can present you with an effective plan. 

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It develops in our body cells called melanocytes. These cells in our body are responsible for producing melanin, a pigment that gives color to our skin. Melanoma can occur in various body parts, namely the eyes, nose, back, legs, chest, and even intestines. People with darker skin have comparatively lower chances of acquiring melanoma.

Causes of Melanoma

Melanoma occurs when the melanocytes- pigment cells that give color to our body- start dividing uncontrollably. There can be four causes of melanoma. 

  • Sunburn and UV light exposure – Too much exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays damage the DNA cells in our body. This can damage the genes that control how the cells divide. If the cells no longer work properly, they can become cancer cells. 
  • Race/ethnicity – Melanoma is more likely to develop in white people or light-skinned people than in people with darker skin. Studies show that melanoma is 30% more common in white people than in black people. 
  • Family medical history – Most melanoma cases are inherited genetically. If you have parents or grandparents with melanoma, you are at a higher risk. 
  • Old age – Melanoma is found more in people above 55 years of age than in younger people. However, women under 50 are at a higher risk of melanoma than men under 50. 

Symptoms:

Melanoma usually appears in the form of moles. Most moles are normal and harmless. However, if you see something unusual on your skin, consult a doctor immediately.

Melanoma symptoms are usually called the “ABCDE” guide. Here are a few symptoms of melanoma. 

  • Asymmetry- One half is unlike the other. 
  • Border- The border is irregularly shaped. 
  • Color- There are color variations, sometimes tan, black, brown, red, and blue. 
  • Diameter- The diameter of the mole is usually bigger than 6mm. 
  • Evolving- It may change its shape, size, and color with time. 

How to Prevent Melanoma?

You can reduce the risk of melanoma by taking a few steps. 

  • Avoid going in the sun as much as possible. 
  • Wear clothes that cover your body correctly. 
  • Before going out, wear sunscreen on your face, hands, and any part that will be exposed to the sun. 
  • Examine your skin from time to time to check for symptoms.

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