Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer and is increasing faster than any other cancer type. It develops in the Melanocytes that produce melanin, a pigment responsible for giving the skin its colour. Melanoma can also develop in the eyes and internal organs such as intestines.
People under the age of 40 years are at a greater risk of developing Melanoma. According to experts, sun exposure appears to increase the risk of developing Melanoma. Some of the risk factors that can increase the chances of developing Melanoma are:
Fair skin, red or blond hair, and green or blue eyes means you have less melanin pigment in your skin i.e. you have less protection from harmful UV radiation. Hence, people with fair skin are more at risk of developing Melanoma than people with darker complexion.
One or more severe sunburns can increase your risk of Melanoma.
If a close relative – such as a parent or sibling – has had melanoma, you have a greater chance of developing Melanoma, too.
Having more than 45 moles in your body indicates an increased risk of developing Melanoma.
People with weakened immune system are also at risk of developing Melanoma.
The most common sign of Melanoma is a dark skin spot. It may appear anywhere on the body, especially in the sun exposure areas such as the face, back, chest, arms and legs. However, it can also occur in the areas that are not much exposure to the sun such as palms of the hands, nail beds and scalps. Dark skin people are more at risk of developing Melanoma in hidden areas.
A mole that bleeds, or has a hard surface may also indicate a Melanoma. Few other signs of Melanoma that are related to moles are:
To reduce the risk of Melanoma, experts strongly suggest to:
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