Be Aware of the Signs of Melanoma

Although many skin cancers are common and easy to treat by removing a mole, it is important to know how dangerous some skin cancer can be. Melanoma is a very aggressive form of skin cancer that if not caught and treated in time – can lead to disfigurement or even death.

Melanoma involves an uncontrolled growth of the cells that produce your skin’s pigment. Melanomas can appear very quickly anywhere on the body and can metastasize, or spread, quickly.  Melanomas are typically found on areas prone to sun exposure including the face, neck, back and legs.  If you have a family history of melanoma – the cancer is also likely to appear in places not often exposed to the sun.

The most common cause of melanoma is sun and tanning bed exposure.  Did you know that just one visit to a tanning bed can greatly increase your risk for melanoma?

melanomaMalignant melanoma can infect vital organs and even lead to death.  The most important thing that you can do to prevent melanoma is to protect your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. It is also important to visit your dermatologist for annual skin screenings.

Melanoma generally appears as a flat, dark black or brown spot on the skin. Lesions have irregular borders and may be larger than a quarter.  If you notice any of these characteristics or sudden changes in your existing moles, visit your dermatologist immediately.

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