One of the deadliest forms of cancer is melanoma. This skin cancer occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give colour to the skin become cancerous.
A new article published in the Canadian Medical Association’s journal CMAJ explain what new research reveals about this skin cancer. Here are five main facts you need to know about melanoma.
1. Exposure to the sun can cause melanoma to develop: Sun exposure plays a crucial factor that contributes to the development of melanoma. That is why you will find it mostly appears in areas of the skin like arms, torso and neck that are exposed to the harmful rays. This is why it is important to make sure you have enough sunscreen on your body.
2. Melanomas can occur on parts of the body that are not exposed to the sun: According to genome-sequencing studies, melanoma can also occur on your palms and the soles of your feet. Based on these findings, researchers believe sun exposure may not be the only contributing factor of melanoma.
3. Specific cellular pathway occurs in almost all melanomas: All melanoma cases have been found to have a cellular pathway called the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. This helps cancerous cells to grow and survive. However, the findings have helped scientists to identify certain markers that could help treat the disease and improve the survival of patients.
4. 10 per cent of melanomas are difficult to diagnose: About 10 per cent of all melanoma types are either amelanotic or hypopigmented.Amelanotic melanoma occurs from a mole that contains no melanin, and hypopigmented melanoma comes from lighter patches of skin. These type of melanoma often occur in patients with Fitzpatrick type I skin and severe sun damage. They are often hard to diagnose.
5. People with suspicious skin lesions should get it checked by a dermatologist: Researchers say if the skin lesion fulfils the ABCDE criteria it could be melanoma.
ABCDE stands for:
- Asymmetric shape
- Irregular border
- Colour variation
- Diameter greater than six mm
- Evolution (any change)
"What we want people to do is to keep an eye on their whole skin, not just individual moles," Selene Daly, a dermatology nurse specialist, told a news portal. Adding, "Any new changes, any lesions which develop and any moles which change in colour, size or shape we should be aware of."
The most important thing to remember is to also take preventative measures in order to protect yourself from the disease.