What is melanoma: causes and symptoms

530 points
What is melanoma causes and symptoms

The skin cancerIt is one of the most common types of cancer in the world. There are several types, within which we get squamous cell cancer and basal cell cancer, these are the two most common types of skin cancer, but on the other hand we have melanoma, which is not as common as those mentioned above but is much more dangerous.

Despite this, in recent years there has been a notable increase in the appearance of melanomas and it is estimated that at present, it is the neoplasm that has increased the most in men and the second in women, after carcinoma of the colon. lung

Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer, it originates from mutations within the melanocyteswhich are cells located in all tissues of the human body, this explains why it can originate in any organ, although its most frequent location is the cutaneousfollowed by mucous membranes, lymph nodes and soft tissues.

The main function of these cells is the production of melaninwhich is the pigment that gives color to the skin and hair and that also plays an essential role in the protection against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation of the sun.

What happens during the formation of a melanoma is that due to the mutations inside these cells (melanocytes) the rate of mitosis or division of the same is uncontrolled, leading to the formation of a tumor.

Causes of melanoma

Anyone can suffer from melanoma, it occurs in any ethnic group, but there are irrigation factors that can increase the chances of suffering cutaneous Melanoma, These factors can be intrinsic, that is, non-modifiable factors that each individual possesses, and extrinsic, which are those risk factors that can be modified or avoided.

  • Family history: that a direct relative, such as father, mother, children or siblings have suffered at some point from any type of skin cancer, not necessarily melanoma.
  • Genetic predisposition: those individuals who have genes in their DNA that, when activated, for certain reasons, send signals to initiate the mutation of said cells.
  • White skin: Although we have already mentioned that any ethnic group can be affected by melanoma, it should be noted that people with fair skin tend to be more likely to suffer from it, because they have lower melanin levels than those of a person with white skin. brown and therefore the protection against ultraviolet rays is less.
  • Sunburn and excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation: It has been shown that this type of rays, produced by the sun and by tanning beds, greatly increase the chances that the melanocytes will mutate and therefore the appearance of malignant lesions will occur.
  • Presence of excess moles or atypical moles: It is considered that having more than 50 moles on the body is an important risk factor for the appearance of melanoma. The appearance of atypical moles is also a risk factor.
  • Immunodeficiency: People with immune system disorders are more prone to the appearance of lesions of this nature.

For these reasons it is advisable to avoid exposure to ultraviolet rays, use sunscreen with SPF greater than 15 every day and reapply every two hours.

It is also recommended not to carry out outdoor activities between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., even when the sky is cloudy or the temperature is low, the radiation emitted by the sun’s rays is capable of penetrating the layer of ozone and cause damage to the skin, such as burns and even tanning.

If exposure to the sun is unavoidable during those hours, appropriate clothing should be used, covering the arms, legs and face; And it goes without saying that the use of ultraviolet radiation tanning beds should be avoided altogether.

Melanoma symptoms

Melanomas can develop in any part of the body, but as we mentioned before, cutaneous lesions, that is, on the skin, are more frequent. In general, this occurs in the regions that are more exposed to solar radiation, such as the face, arms, legs and back, this does not mean that the lesions cannot appear in less frequent places such as the genitals and soles of the feet.

Manifestation of melanoma on the skin

The characteristic sign of a malignant lesion is the appearance of a mole with characteristics different from the rest or changes in a pre-existing one.

To identify this type of mole we use the letters
A, B, C, D and E in the following way:

  • A – Asymmetry (asymmetrically shaped moles, unusual)
  • B – Irregular edges (rippled or cut edges are characteristic of melanomas)
  • C – Color changes (they are not one color, they have various shades of dark brown and black disorganized in the same lesion)
  • D – Diameter (greater than 6mm)
  • E – Evolution (growth or changes in shape over time)

A melanoma can have all the characteristics described above or only have 1 or two of them, so it is recommended that if you suspect the presence of one of these lesions, see a specialist.

Like it? Share with your friends!

530 points