Melanoma (or skin cancer in popular terms), is a form of cancer that is quicker in spreading than any other cancers. It is mainly caused by over-exposure to the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. Sometimes, it is also genetic and some rare genes are more susceptible to this cancer. Even beauty care products nowadays are being formulated with SPF to protect the skin from sun damage. Nations world-wide are spreading awareness about melanoma.
Melanoma cancer(or tumor) occurs in cells that make skin pigmentation – known as melanocytes. It spreads to other body parts quickly. Melanoma normally makes its first appearance on the legs of women and on the trunk in men. However, it can also showup on body parts not regularly exposed to sun.
Melanoma is a life threatening disorder and around 50,000 people are diagnosed with Melanoma each year. Location wise, North America and Australia have highest rate of Melanoma incidents. With increasing number of Melanoma cases every year, it becomes important to identify the signs of melanoma.
- Every fortnight, observe your skin for any outbreaks of moles or if there has been any change in the appearance of an existing mole. First, look for any new moles or alterations in the existing moles in front of your body. Now, also check at your back, right and left sides carefully by keeping your arms raised. Include back and buttocks either in a large sized mirror or in a hand held one for a closer look.
- On your joints like elbows, underarms, forearms, upper underarms and also on palms, check thoroughly. Examine in between the toes, under your feet and also back of your legs.
- Look carefully at the skin on your neck,back of neck with a medium sized handheld mirror. You should also examine your scalp thoroughly by making separate sections of your hair.
I know these steps look troublesome and impractical at first, since many of us subconsciously believe that we’ll never have this problem, however, I’ll still suggest to atleast follow the first point every fortnight as a habit and if you find any thing suspicious, then do a thorough examination as mentioned.
You can also quickly find out if your moles are turning abnormal –
- If the moles have asymmetrical or frayed edges.
- If a single mole appears to have 2 distinct halves that have different color, size, shape and even density.
- The mole will show up in multiple shades of white, brown, black, tan and sometimes even blue. Not in a single color as normal.
- The circular diameter of the moles that have been affected with melanoma is usually greater than 6mm. However, this is not a rule.
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