- Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer
- This disease is becoming more common in people less than 40 years of age
- Melanoma can be treated easily if detected in the early stages itself
Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. This form of cancer develops in melanin, the pigment which gives skin its color. This condition can develop in your eyes, internal organs and rarely in the intestines. When melanoma spreads to other parts of the body, it is known as metastatic or advanced. The exact cause of melanoma is not known yet. But it is believed that prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun could be a possible reason. Melanoma could also develop from exposure to tanning beds and lamps. Therefore, the best way to reduce the risk of melanoma is limiting exposure to ultraviolet radiation as much as possible. This disease is becoming more common in people less than 40 years of age; and women are considered more prone to this condition than men. Melanoma can be treated easily if detected in the early stages itself. For this, it is important to watch for the early signs and symptoms of this condition.
But before proceeding to the signs and symptoms, take a look at the list of those parts of your body where melanoma is most likely to spread.
1. Lymph nodes
2. Tissues under the skin
What are the causes of melanoma?
Melanoma usually occurs when something goes wrong with melanin-producing cells. Normally, the skin cells work in an orderly manner. New cells push the older cells upwards which eventually die and fall off. However, when DNA damage takes place, the new cells start growing abnormally. Eventually, these cells become cancerous. That is how cancer develops, but the exact cause of DNA damage is still not clear. Over-exposure to UV rays is believed to be a cause of this condition. All-in-all, environmental, genetic and family histories are believed to be important causes of melanoma. Nevertheless, experts blame ultraviolet radiations for melanoma and believe that it is the leading cause of the disease. This conclusion, however, is subject to argument. Since melanoma develops in other parts of the body as well, ones which are not always exposed to UV radiations, it means that there are other risk factors as well which contribute to this condition.
Also read: 5 Ways To Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage
What are the symptoms of melanoma?
Melanoma is quite treatable if diagnosed in time; and for early diagnosis, it is important to watch out for the symptoms of this condition. In the early stages, melanoma starts showing changes in the moles. Another important symptom is the appearance of new pigmented and abnormal growth on the skin. It usually appears on those parts of your body which are exposed to sunlight. However, it may also develop on the soles of your feet and back, those parts which are not usually exposed to sunlight. Keep in mind that it may not necessarily begin as a mole, it may also start developing on normal looking skin.
When melanoma has spread to different parts of the body, it shows the following symptoms:
1. Hard skin lumps
3. Weight loss
4. Difficulty in breathing
5. Chronic cough
6. Swollen lymph nodes
7. Swollen liver
9. Headaches and weakness
10. Bone pain
Preventive measures for melanoma
Melanoma risk can be reduced with the following preventive measures:
1. Avoid going out in the sun between 10-4. These are the hottest hours of the day.
2. Wear a sunscreen throughout the year. Be it summer or winter, the UV rays of the sun may not spare your skin.
3. Keep yourself covered while going out. Melanoma usually develops on those parts of your skin which are exposed to sunlight very often.
4. Avoid going close to tanning lamps and beds.
5. Watch out for any sort of changes on your skin.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.