Melanoma skin cancer is a serious condition

Melanoma skin cancer is the is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It involves the cells that produce pigment (melanin), which is responsible for skin and hair color. Melanoma can also involve the pigmented portion of the eye.

There are four major types of melanoma skin cancer:

  • Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of melanoma. It is usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with varying shades of black and brown. It may occur at any age or site and is most common in Caucasians.
  • Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or bluish-red, although some lack color.
  • Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with intermixed areas of brown.
  • Acral lentiginous melanoma is the least common form of melanoma. It usually occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails and is more common in African Americans.

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Melanoma skin cancer can spread very rapidly and is the most deadly form of skin cancer. Although it is less common than other types of skin cancer, the incidence of melanoma is steadily increasing. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.

In the United States, 1 in 85 people will develop melanoma at some point in their life. The risk of developing melanoma increases with age, but nonetheless the disease frequently affects young, otherwise healthy people. Melanoma is the number one cause of cancer death in women aged 25 to 30.

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.

The development of melanoma skin cancer is related to sun exposure, particularly to sunburns during childhood, and is most common among people with fair skin, blue or green eyes, and red or blond hair.

Risk factors include the following:

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

The primary symptom of any skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. Any change in appearance of a pigmented skin lesion over time is a warning sign. Also, watch for any bleeding from a skin growth. If you notice any suspicious skin markings, see your health care provider as soon as possible.

Your health care provider may suspect melanoma skin cancer based on the appearance of the growth, sore, or lump. A biopsy may be used to confirm the diagnosis. The biopsy may involve removal of a small area of a growth or the entire growth itself.

Prevention of melanoma skin cancer

It is recommended that you protect yourself from damaging ultraviolet rays on a regular basis. This includes the following:

  • Applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, every day (during winter months as well)
  • Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses
  • Refraining from intentionally lying in the sun or using tanning devices
  • Minimizing sun exposure, especially during the summer, particularly between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Keep your skin clean and healthy with appropriate daily care

You do not need to deal with the effects of chemical treatments. Melanoma skin cancer can be cured the natural way. Learn how.


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