Melanoma is a form of skin cancer. Usually, it develops from an existing mole although it may also show up anywhere else where there is no mole present and without any warning. Knowing some vital facts about this dreaded skin disease is important. Continue reading to learn 12 important matters about this form of cancer.
1. It’s the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer
Experts say that melanoma is the deadliest of all forms of skin cancer. In fact, it is said that the incidence of melanoma is rising faster than any form of cancer on the planet! To give you a better idea: a person dies every hour from skin cancer, in particular melanoma.
2. Melanoma Usually Arises From a Mole
In most cases, this deadly form of cancer stems from an existing mole. That’s why one of the disease’s risk factors includes being born with moles. However, it is also possible for the condition to arise even when there’s no mole in sight.
3. Watch Out for Atypical Moles
Experts say that having atypical moles puts you at high risk of having melanoma. Unlike typical moles, atypical moles are larger and feature varied colors as well as irregular borders. They may be found practically anywhere on the body but they are more commonly observed on the lower legs, torso, upper back, neck and head.
4. Treatment for Melanoma Has Had No Significant Advances
In the past 30 years, it is said that there had been no advances in the medical treatment for individuals afflicted with this deadly form of skin cancer.
5. Early Detection is Imperative
Although it’s true that melanoma is deadly, early detection can help save a person’s life. In fact, removing the problem surgically is usually enough to put a stop to the disease’s progression and complications.
6. It Becomes Deadly When It Spreads to Other Areas
Once this form of skin cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the survival rate diminishes. Melanoma may spread to the lymph nodes as well as various organs, making the disease harder to treat.
7. Changes in a Spot on the Skin is a Warning Sign
According to specialists, the most important warning signs of melanoma include changes in the appearance of a spot on your skin. Something that changes in size, shape and color should be a cause for concern.
8. The Disease May Strike at Any Age
Regardless of the person’s age, he or she may suffer from melanoma. However, it is more likely to occur after puberty. Experts say that melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in people aged 25 to 29, although the average diagnosis is 52 years old.
9. Genetic Factors are the Most Important Risk Factors
Risk factors for melanoma come aplenty. Some of them include unnecessary exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, being white and aging over 50. The most important risk factors, however, include the genetic kinds. Having family members with melanoma and being born with moles are some examples.
10. Sunbathing Puts You at High Risk
It is said that short-term but intense exposure to the sun’s UV rays puts you at high risk of developing this deadly form of skin cancer. One very good example is sunbathing.
11. Having Melanoma in the Past Puts You at Risk Too
You may suffer from melanoma if you had the disease in the past. Previous cancer such as that of the thyroid or breast may also put you at higher risk of melanoma.
12. It’s Possible to Dodge Melanoma
The most preventable risk factor for melanoma is unnecessary exposure to the UV rays of the sun. You can lower your chances of having this skin cancer by applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and staying in the shade. Sunbathing and the use of tanning beds should be avoided.