If you regularly enjoy time in the sun, you may be concerned about developing melanoma. Melanoma is a type of cancer that begins in melanin-producing cells of your body. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its brown or tan coloration. Thus, during times of sun exposure, melanin produces the pigment that gives you a suntan.
If a melanoma begins to develop, it is important to receive prompt medical care. Melanoma is often confirmed during a cancer screening. However, it is important for you to know the signs of melanoma so that it can be caught early. Melanoma usually responds well to treatment in the early stages. In addition, melanoma, if treated early, is not likely to spread. The early signs of melanoma are often changes to moles. Read on to learn more about the structure of your skin and how to catch cancer symptoms.
Your Skin's Structure
Your skin is basically comprised of three layers. The first layer is the epidermis, which is the outermost layer that contains the melanin-producing cells that are called melanocytes. These cells can develop into melanoma. The layers beneath the epidermis include the dermis, which contains the sweat glands, nerves, hair shafts, and blood vessels. The deepest layer, which is called the subcutis, includes the fat needed to keep your body warm and protected. Since you can easily perceive the epidermis, your observation is the first line of defense against cancer.
Most moles are harmless, but some of these skin growths can develop into melanoma. If a mole is symmetrical, it is not likely a melanoma. However, if two sides of a mole do not match, it may be a sign of cancer.
If a mole has uneven edges, it may be malignant. Most moles that are benign have even, circular borders. However, a melanoma can have raised, scalloped, and uneven edges.
If a mole has many different shade variations, it could indicate a problem. A benign mole is usually a single color. A melanoma may have various hues, such as black, white, or red.
If a mole's size is larger then the diameter of a normal pencil eraser, it could be an indication of cancer.
If a mole seems to be evolving or growing, it may be cancerous. The shape, size, and color of a benign mole usually stay the same.
If you suspect that you have melanoma, schedule a consultation with a physician in your area as soon as possible.The sooner that a melanoma is identified, the more effective treatment can be.