More Information on Melanoma

More Information on Melanoma

Melanoma is a malignant (meaning a tumor that becomes progressively worse and could result in death) tumor of melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that exude a dark reddish pigment that leave the skin a different color. Melanocytes most often reside in the skin.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and causes 75% of the deaths related to skin cancer.

Melanoma, being a form of cancer, is caused by irreparable damage to the DNA of a Melanocyte. In the case of Melanoma it is often caused by too much exposure to UV light from the sun or from tanning salons.

There is a good way to remember the signs of melanoma using the mnemonic “ABCDE”.

  • Asymmetrical skin lesion
  • Border of the lesion is irregular
  • Color: Melanomas usually have multiple colors that are often red
  • Diameter: Moles greater then 6 millimeters are more likely to be melanomas than smaller moles
  • Enlarging: If you notice a lesion or mole enlarging see a Dermatologist soon.

If melanoma is caught early it is easier to treat then if it begins to spread and there are multiple lesions on the body. Treatment varies greatly on the progress of the melanoma but often a surgical removal is used if the lesion is small.