All you need to know about melanoma, How to diagnose and prevent it
Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer. It develops when normal cells turn abnormal, becoming cancerous, and can occur anywhere in the body. It occurs on the skin, often in hard-to-reach places, as well as on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and genitals. In the absence of timely treatment, there is a possibility of spread to the internal organs.
Melanoma can appear in any person, regardless of the color of his skin, one of the reasons is a genetic predisposition. Over the past decades, the incidence of this type of cancer has doubled.
Table of Contents
What are the symptoms of melanoma?
Melanoma often looks like a brown or black mole, but has distinctive features. One way to memorize her anomalous features is to use the letter “memory” A, B, C, D, and E.
- Asymmetry (A – asymmetry) – one half looks different than the other.
- Border (B – border) – has a jagged or uneven edge.
- Color (C – color) – different colors or a combination of them are noticeable (for example, brown, black and red).
- Diameter (D – diameter) – larger than the eraser at the end of the pencil.
- Evolution (E – evolving) – size, color or shape change over time.
Melanomas can also ulcerate and bleed.
What you should pay attention to?
There are factors that increase the risk of developing the disease:
- 1st skin phototype – it includes people with blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, pale, often burning skin and easily occurring freckles.
- Having a history of sunburn – even one sunburn, especially one with blistering, increases the risk of developing melanoma.
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation – if you often go to the sea, live in southern regions where UV radiation is stronger, or visit a solarium.
- The abundance of moles on the body – the number of nevi more than 50 is an indicator of a predisposition to melanoma.
- The presence of atypical moles – large nevi with uneven contours, different colors.
- Burdening by family history – melanoma in relatives of the 1st line. 10% of patients with this disease had a family history of this form of cancer.
- Immunosuppression – HIV-positive patients and patients on immunosuppressive therapy should be careful with prolonged exposure to the sun.
Is there a test for melanoma?
At the appointment, the attending physician will conduct an examination and check the skin all over the body. If melanoma is suspected, you will have a follow-up test called a biopsy, during which the entire abnormal area is usually removed. In some cases, a small skin sample is taken from this area.