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10 Things You Should Know About Melanoma

By at December 20, 2010 | 2:28 pm | Print

10 Things You Should Know About Melanoma

Ten things you should know about Melanoma
by Basira Qarizada  

  1. A dark-pigmented, usually malignant tumor arising from a melanocyte and occurring most commonly in the skin.
  2.  Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer.
  3. Melanoma cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. 
  4. The risk of developing melanoma is higher in people who have had repeated sunburns or just one bad sunburn in childhood. 
  5. Melanoma is often preventable by protecting children and adults from sunburn and excessive sun exposure. 
  6. A diagnosis of melanoma can be delayed or missed because some melanomas may not produce any change in skin color. 
  7. Melanoma may appear on normal skin, or it may begin at a mole or other area that has changed in appearance. Some moles present at birth may develop into melanomas. 
  8. -The American Cancer Society recommends professional skin examinations every year for people older than 40, and every 3 years for people aged 20 – 40. Monthly self-examination is also recommended. 
  9. Only the smallest and most shallow melanomas can be cured by surgery alone, so early diagnosis is very important. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy (use of medications that stimulate the immune system, such as interferon) may be recommended in addition to surgery. 

10. Risk factors include the following:

  • Family history of melanoma
  • Red or blond hair and fair skin
  • Presence of multiple birthmarks
  • Development of precancerous sores
  • Obvious freckling on the upper back
  • Three or more blistering sunburns before age 20
  • Three or more years spent at an outdoor summer job as a teenager
  • High levels of exposure to strong sunlight

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