Though melanoma comprises only 1% of all skin cancers in the United States, it can pose serious risks to the affected individual’s health. In fact, the disorder causes a large majority of skin cancer-related deaths every year.
Melanoma occurs in skin cells called melanocytes that produce melanin in the skin. When detected in earlier stages, most people respond well to treatment. Without proper treatment, cancer might spread quickly and become difficult to treat.
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Here’s what you need to know about melanoma.
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a specific kind of skin cancer that begins in the melanocytes.
Most pigment-producing cells develop in the skin. When our body produces and divides these cells uncontrollably, it causes melanoma. This can occur anywhere on the skin, but the chest and back are more common in male patients. In women, the condition can develop on their legs.
The condition can be managed when detected in its earlier stages. However, without proper treatment, this skin cancer can metastasize to other parts of the body.
What are The Symptoms of Melanoma?
Unfortunately, detecting melanoma in its earlier stages can be difficult. However, it’s important to check your skin to identify any changes in it. That’s because alterations in the appearance of the skin are key indicators of skin-related cancer.
Here are some early signs that you should look out for:
- A new mole
- A bleeding spot or a mole
- A flat red spot that’s rough and scaly
- A red, crusty lump that bleeds
- A skin sore that isn’t healing
- A shiny, smooth, or pale spot or lump on the body
- Alteration in the color, size, or shape of a mole
- Changes in the color, size, or shape of a spot
- Irritated or itchy spots or moles
- New spots on the skin
- Tender spots or moles
The condition can usually occur on the face, chest, legs, neck, or back as these are more likely to get more sun exposure.
What Are the Different Types of Melanomas?
Superficial Spreading Melanoma
This is the most common type of melanoma that accounts for approximately 70% of all cases. The cells usually grow slowly at first before spreading over the skin. The color can vary from black to red.
This is the second most common type that usually appears on the chest, head, or neck. Nodular melanoma grows quicker than other types and appears to be a black-blue color.
Lentigo Maligna Melanoma
This is a less common type that develops in older adults. It usually occurs due to excessive sun exposure and grows slowly.
Acral Lentiginous Melanoma
It is the rarest kind that occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails.
Timely treatment can ensure better recovery. If you need financial assistance for filling in prescriptions, try Advocate My Meds.
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