Melanoma word refers to a group of cancerous tumors, particularly of the skin. These cancers are composed of melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that colors skin, hair, and iris of the eye.
Melanoma often spreads and gives rise to cancerous tumors in other parts of the body. Because it is the kind of dangerous skin cancer, early diagnosis is of great importance.
What are the risks of melanoma?
You can have a higher risk of developing melanoma in the following cases:
1. A family history of melanoma.
2. Skin and eyes.
3. Exposure to the sun (especially at a young age).
4. Prolonged exposure to coal tar products, and arsenic.
5. Have experienced one or more severe sunburns at any time in the past, especially in adolescence.
6. Numerous pigment spots, which are defects of the skin such as freckles, moles, and dark or light spots like freckles.
What are the symptoms?
Melanoma usually develops on exposed areas of skin, but can occur anywhere in the body, including under the nails and eyes. The most common symptom in the early stages of melanoma is a change in a mole that you have had since childhood. This mole may have the following characteristics:
1. Asymmetry: One half unlike the other half.
2. Irregular edge: It may be toothed or with a poorly defined border.
3. The color varies from one area to another may have the following colors: brown, dark brown, black, white, red, or blue.
4. Diameter greater than 6 mm in general. Sometimes the melanoma can develop in normal skin, where there was no mole or blemish above.
The immune system is able to detect and destroy cancer cells as they appear, so that can induce an inflammatory reaction in melanoma and destroy it completely. But sometimes this defense mechanism fails cancer.
Diagnostics of melanoma
If there is any reason to suspect a skin cancer, the doctor will use one or more methods to determine if the disease is actually present. The doctor will look at the size, shape, color and texture of the area in question, and if it bleed or peel.
It will explore the rest of the body to see if you have spots or moles that may be associated with skin cancer. It may be necessary to ask other questions or other tests, depending on his health, in particular.
If the doctor thinks that an area may submit a skin cancer melanoma, it will take a skin sample from the suspicious area for examination under a microscope. This is called a skin biopsy. For this test can be used different methods. The method chosen depends on the type of skin cancer melanoma, the same location in the body and the size of the affected area.