Melanoma – Surviving the Least Common But Most Dangerous Form of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer has three major forms. All of these are known, at least in part, to be caused by exposure to sunlight. The skin cells’ genetic operations can be disrupted by the ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, the possible consequence of which is the development of precancerous and cancerous cells. Basal cell carcinoma (also known as rodent ulcer), squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma are the three major forms of skin cancer, the latter being the most dangerous of the three.
Since the skin’s topmost layers are the first to be affected by the ultraviolet rays from sunlight, all three forms of skin cancer develop in the skin’s upper layer, or epidermis. Likewise, all three forms have one common symptom which you have to keep watch of – “change.” Melanoma, however, has its own special set of symptoms.
The presence of melanoma is usually indicated by the alteration of the color of either a patch of skin or a mole. Because this form of skin cancer involves cells that produce black and brown pigments, you have to be particularly aware of changes in dark spots, patches, or moles. Some of the signs that you have to be on the lookout for are moles that bleed, the emergence of new moles, and the changing of color or shape of any new or old dark spot.
It is said that the lighter one’s skin and eye color, the more easily he or she will sunburn; consequently, the more likely he or she is to develop skin cancer. With exposure to sunlight over both short and long periods, this probability becomes progressively greater. Farming and sunbathing on a beach are two of the most common ways by which one is most likely to get skin cancer.
Some people even sunbathe on a beach to the point of blistering – an almost certain way that one will develop skin cancer. But even moderate sunbathing summer after summer can increase one’s risk of getting the disease. Over time, the damage to skin cells piles up little by little; this makes people in their middle or later years as those most likely to develop skin cancer. How can the risk be reduced then?
Obviously, the simplest way to avoid developing skin cancer is to reduce the skin’s exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Any one of these three basic ways, or a combination of them, can do the trick: limit your time in the sun, protect your skin with clothing (when you’re out in the sun), and use a suntan lotion (if you must stay out in the sun and can’t protect your skin from sunlight) – really very simple ways.
What makes melanoma the most serious of the skin cancers is that the moment it begins to develop, it can spread quickly. The condition, however, doesn’t have to be a death sentence. If detected and treated early enough, this disease may be cured in about seventy-five percent of cases. There are in fact known stories of remarkable people who survived their respective melanoma cases naturally.