Melanoma is a kind of skin cancer that attacks melanin-producing cells. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to the skin. This deadly cancer may also form in other areas like the eyes and in the internal organs, but it’s very rare.
Even though melanoma accounts for the smallest portion of all known skin cancers, it has the biggest allocation for morbidity. This is due to the fact that this type of cancer spreads rather easily throughout the body.
Ozone layer depletion, severe skin exposure to sunlight and getting too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation increase the chances of acquiring melanoma, as well as having a genetic predisposition, age, and being exposed to carcinogens.
Melanoma can be a manageable disease with early detection and avoidance of sun exposure, especially when people are aware of its early warning signs and changes of the skin.
One of the common signs of melanoma are mole changes. As moles are pigmented cells that are clustered, those considered normal are usually single colored either brown or black, oval in shape and only has a diameter of about a quarter inch. One person’s body may have an average of between 10 and 40 moles. On the other hand, abnormal or suspicious moles have irregular borders and are multi colored that may be tannish, reddish or pinkish. This kind is medically termed as Dysplastic Nevi and more than likely could be malignant or cancerous.
A skin self-examination, known as A-B-C-D, is being utilized by the American Academy of Dermatology as guide to classify melanomas and other variety of cancers, as follows:
A – Asymmetrical shape: If you see an irregularity in shape on any of your moles or if they happen to split in half, it is a warning signal to have it checked.
B – Border: Irregular edges, jagged or serrated bordered moles are suspicious.
C – Color Changes: Any change in hue or shade distribution in any mole could be sign that it is cancerous.
D – Diameter: If a mole that you have seems to increase in size or dimension, it is growing and should be looked into.
Other symptoms to look out for are oozing, bleeding, texture change and itching.