Time To Learn The ABC's Of Melanoma
By Chris Borg | Submitted On January 22, 2013
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Expert Author Chris Borg
In case you were not aware, melanoma is one of the various forms of skin cancer that a person can come down with. While basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, melanoma is the most dangerous in terms of mortality. Melanoma has achieved this dubious distinction because all the different forms of melanoma cause 3 out 4 skin cancer deaths.
If you recall from high school anatomy and physiology, melanocytes are the cells within the skin that produce the skin coloring pigment known as melanin. When these melanocytes go "haywire", the cancer known as melanoma sets in. So what exactly causes the melanocytes to develop into skin cancer. While the answer is not completely clear, it is more than likely due to:
having a compromised immune system
being exposed to cancer causing chemicals
a family history of melanoma
having multiple birthmarks
fair or freckled skin
unsafe use of tanning beds
extended periods out in the sun without protection
multiple episodes of blistering skin due to sunburn
consuming immuno-suppressant medications
geographic location, such as living near the equator or at high altitudes
While this list is extremely extensive, several entries on the list appear to have a common denominator that can be combatted with common sense. You must use adequate sun protection on your exposed skin surfaces when venturing outdoors. Some lotions and creams only protect you against UVA, or the tanning rays. Others, will protect you against UVB, the burning rays. The best varieties will protect you against both. If possible, avoid the midday sun from 10am to 2pm as this is when it is most intense. If you must go outdoors or if you are of the sun worshiping "type", be sure to apply your lotion before going out and re-apply it every two hours.
The best protection against getting any form of melanoma is prevention. Be sure to examine your skin regularly and be on the lookout for any signs that trouble might be brewing. To help you in this regard, many skin experts use the ABCDE system for detecting a problem.
A stands for asymmetry. Is the mole appearance symmetric from side to side (good) or does each side look different (bad)
B stands for borders. Are the borders of the lesion defined (good) or undefined and irregular (bad)
C stands for color. Is the color the same throughout the mole (good) or are their various colors showing (bad)
D stands for diameter. A smaller diameter than one-quarter inch (good), greater than one-quarter inch (bad)
E stands for evolving. Be on the lookout for changes in shape, color, texture, or some other sign that the mole or lesion is evolving (bad)
If you find out that you have melanoma, quick detection can be your best friend. A dermatologist may be able to remove the affected tissue with a simple excision. If it has spread beyond a simple ablation, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery might be indicated.
Chris is a practicing pharmacist who writes on health care topics. You can see Chris's latest website on Psoriasis Treatment and learn all about the symptoms, treatment and related information about psoriasis as well as other skin disorders such as eczema, seborrhea and skin cancer.
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