Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Melanoma, a skin disease considered to be the most dangerous of its kind and the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanocytes produce melanin or skin pigment, an ingredient responsible for the color or lack of color in your hair and skin.

Melanoma can begin as a mole or other area that has changed appearance. You can identify melanoma early by looking for signs such as: flat and irregular shape and colored moles, a raised area on the skin that is dark black or bluish red, or sun damaged skin that are large, flat, and tan. Rare cases of melanoma can appear in the mouth, eye, anus, and, or genitals.

Though melanoma is less common than other types of skin cancer it is the leading cause of skin disease and therefore precaution should be taken to prevent it. Keeping out of prolonged sunlight and applying sun screen when in the sun can both act as powerful ways to protect you from the sun. Also, close family members and exposure to cancer causing chemicals can also put you at risk.

The main symptom of most skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. Watch for any changes in the pigmentation of the skin over time as well as any bleeding for these are warning signs that you may be at risk.

The key to treating melanoma is catching it early so it is wise to perform self examinations at least once a month and schedule skin examinations with your dermatologist at least twice a year. Remember that the best cure for any and all disease is prevention, so make sure to minimize your exposure to sunlight especially during the summer and wear protective clothing including a hat and sunglasses to stay safe and melanoma free.

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