Of the many cancers there are, skin cancer is one of the most common. In fact, some studies even show that one in every three cancers that are diagnosed is a skin cancer. There are malignant and nonmalignant forms, with melanoma being the most dangerous. It is important to understand this form of cancer.
Melanoma Skin Cancer
Skin melanoma is the less prevalent. It occurs as a result of the distortion of melanocytes, which are the pigment cells responsible for dark skin. Its danger emanates from the fact that it can metastasize causing serious illness and eventual death. This cancer type is mainly caused by exposure to sunlight, which damages the melanocytes and may cause DNA cell alteration. In addition, there are factors that raise your risk of getting this cancer. They include having abnormal moles on your skin and if they run in your family, chances are that they are moles cancerous. Another risk factor is the prolonged sun exposure during childhood. Your risk of having melanoma is increased by 75% if you used tanning devices frequently before age 30. Some genetic factors like having fair skin, light-colored eyes, or light hair are also possible risk indicators.
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
In determining whether you have melanoma skin cancer, you have to look out for certain traits. However, having spots or moles does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Moles cancerous are identified using the following parameters.
- Asymmetry- one-half of the mole differs from the other half
- Border irregularity- the spot has uneven or notched borders
- Color-the mole has a different color from other moles or has various colors in an irregular pattern
- Diameter-the mole is bigger that the size of a pencil eraser
There are four types of melanoma. Superficial spreading is the most common and often starts as a normal mole, which eventually changes malignantly with uneven borders and color disparities. The nodular type progresses faster and it is often detected as a blue and black colored lump. It is also commonly found in thighs, trunk, and upper arms. Acral melanoma is the third type and is often found on feet, hands, and nail beds. The last type is Lentigo maligna melanoma often found on the face of the elderly, back at their eye or eyes, the anus and vagina, and around the mouth. It is important to consult a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. To prevent skin cancer, avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, examine your skin regularly, avoid tanning devices, and sunburns. Also do have regular skin checks done by a medical professional.