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Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, which develops in the melanocytes of the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that produce a pigment called ‘melanin’ that is responsible for the skin complexion. It is a less common but a serious type of skin cancer, which can easily spread to the other parts of the body. Melanoma can sometimes begin in the eyes and rarely in the internal organs, such as the intestine. Early detection of the melanoma can help in successful treatment.
Melanoma produces fewer symptoms in its early stages. The following symptoms may indicate a melanoma:
The signs and symptoms are abbreviated as ‘ABCDE’ and are helpful for a patient to suspect a skin cancer. ABCDE is elaborated as:
shades of black, brown, white, and blue
Melanoma occurs when the DNA of melanocyte cells get mutated. Consequently, the ability of the cells to control the cell division is impaired and the cells undergo repeated division to form a mass of cells known as a tumor. However, the exact cause of this mutation is not clear yet.
Although melanoma can develop on any area of the skin, it is more common in the trunk region in men while in women the legs are most commonly affected. Additionally, melanoma is common on face and neck in both the genders.
The following are the risk factors for developing melanoma:
Diagnosis of melanoma begins with the physical examination of the skin for changes in its appearance. However, a biopsy is required to confirm the condition. The following biopsy procedures are used to diagnose melanoma:
The collected biopsy sample is examined under a microscope for any abnormalities which might indicate a melanoma. Further, the doctor will determine the stage of the melanoma based on the thickness and the extent of the cancer.
Treatment is based on the stage and size of cancer, overall health, and personal preferences of the patient. Treatment approaches are as follows:
The below steps can help to prevent melanoma to some extent:
Who are usually affected by acne? Most people with acne are aged between 12 and 25 but some older and younger people are affected. Boys are more commonly affected than girls.
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