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Melanoma cancer is skin cancer that develops in the skin’s melanocytes in the skin’s epidermis – the outside layer. Melanoma is more dangerous than other skin cancers because it can spread to other organs more rapidly if it isn’t treated early enough. More than 2,300 people die every year in the UK from melanoma. That’s why it is crucial to get an early diagnosis. Express.co.uk reveals the five signs that you may have melanoma cancer.
What causes melanoma?
Melanoma cancer occurs in the upper layer of skin, which produces a pigment called melanin that gives skin its colour.
There are two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin.
When the skin is damaged by UV rays, the melanocytes produce more melanin and the eumelanin tries to protect the skin by causing the skin to darken or tan.
Melanoma happens when DNA is damaged from this tanning or burning due to UV radiation.
It triggers change in the melanocytes and this results in uncontrolled growth in the cells.
READ MORE- Skin cancer symptoms: The defining features
How do you prevent melanoma?
Prevention is always better than a cure, since melanoma requires surgery and can return after removal.
Melanoma can’t always be prevented, but you can reduce your chances of getting it by avoiding getting sunburned.
It’s very easy to go pink in the sun in the UK or abroad in summer, but you should always wear sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 and at least a four-star UVA protect.
You have to be very careful to avoid it as well as going on sunbeds and using sunlamps, especially if you have pale skin and moles.
There are certain factors that are out of your control that can increase your risk of any skin cancer.
For example, if one of your parents or a sibling has had skin cancer you may have an increased risk.
Although people of any skin tone can get skin cancer, you’re more at risk if you have fair skin.
Equally, if you have naturally blonde or red hair and light coloured eyes and freckle or sunburn easily you are more at risk than someone with darker skin.
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Regularly checking your skin and knowing what to look for can lead to an early diagnosis and increase chances of successful treatment.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, on normal skin or on a mole.
In men, melanoma tends to develop on the face or trunk area most commonly.
In women, melanoma most often strikes on the lower legs.
People with darker skin tones more commonly get melanoma on their palms, soles, and under the fingernails or toenails.
The Mayo Clinic lasts five signs of Melanoma, which are:
- A large brownish spot with darker speckles
- A mole that changes in colour, size or feel or that bleeds
- A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black
- A painful lesion that itches or burns
- Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus
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