The skin is the largest organ of the body, which covers about 20 sq. ft. It functions as a protective barrier and our first-line of defense against bacteria and germs; regulates the temperature of the body so that it can adjust to hot or cold weather; and, rids our body of wastes through perspiration to name a few.
May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month, and it’s high time to raise awareness about the condition. In this post, we will shed some light about Melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
Melanoma: Most Dangerous Form of Skin Cancer
Noticeably, our skin is greatly exposed to plenty of environmental factors such as high amounts of ultraviolet radiation. Especially now with extreme climate change happening, our skin is more susceptible to the danger that UV rays brings. Melanoma is known to be the most dangerous form of skin cancer because when undetected and left untreated, the cancer cells multiply rapidly and spreads to other body organs fast.
Melanoma develops in the part of the skin that is called melanocytes, pigment-producing cells found in the basal layer of the epidermis (topmost layer of the skin). Cancerous growth happens when the cells are left damaged and unrepaired. This, in turn, will trigger genetic changes and mutation which will eventually form malignant tumors.
Melanoma: Dangers that lie only skin deep
At first glance, moles are often disregarded since they usually have been on one’s skin since time immemorial. However, melanomas have striking resemblance with moles and some of them develop from moles. Most melanoma appears as black or brown moles or spots but can also be skin-toned, pink, red, purple, blue or white.
ABCDEs of Melanoma
Skincancer.org highligthed the ABCDEs of melanoma, which can help you differentiate a seemingly innocent mole from a fatal one. It is important to be mindful of one’s body, do self-assessment as you look in the mirror, this would be the earliest way to determine or notice significant change in the usual appearance of your skin.
A – Asymmetry
A warning sign of melanoma is asymmetrical spots or moles. Draw a line in the middle of the mole. If the halves are not equal, it would be best to seek consultation
B – Border
The skin surrounding a mole should be smooth and even. You should suspect melanoma when the border and edges are uneven or notched
C – Color
Regular moles have even color so a discoloration on your moles may a sign of melanoma.
D – Diameter
Benign moles are significantly smaller in diameter. Melanomas are often larger than the eraser of a pencil (¼ inch or 6 mm)
E – Evolving
The mole usually found in one’s body is unchanging. For cases of melanoma, a noticeable change in color, size, shape, and elevation should prompt you to seek consult, especially when this is accompanied by bleeding, itchiness and severe pain.
Everyone is at risk of developing this type of skin cancer. When you suspect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, the most important and the best response that you would do is to have yourself checked immediately. For melanoma, being late is not an option.