Melanoma Awareness, Skin Cancer

What You Should Know About Melanoma Cancer and Age

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 03/10/13

Thousands of people in New Zealand are diagnosed with melanoma cancer every year and hundreds die from this dangerous condition. The old saying that prevention is the best cure is totally valid in this case. The more you know about the condition and the related risks the better preventive measures you will be able to adopt.

Melanoma Cancer Development With Age

The most recent findings of the research on this condition show that it is more likely to be caused by blistering sunburn rather than by frequent exposure to average amounts of UV radiation. The number of such sunburns and the age at which you get them may affect your risk. If you experienced this condition when you were a child, your risk is higher.

Melanoma cancer does not develop overnight. It may take years for the skin cells with damaged DNA to become cancerous and to form a cancerous mole. Once such a mole appears on the skin, it may continue to develop for quite some time before it penetrates the lower layers of the epidermis. Hence, the process may have started when you got severe sunburn as a child and the mole can appear some 50 years and possibly more afterwards.

Statistics show that the risk of melanoma increases with age. The median age of patients is around 60. However, over 10 per cent of all sufferers are between the age of 35 and 44. The people between the age of 20 and 34 who have this condition are nearly 7 per cent of all patients. There are even people under the age of 20 affected by the condition.

Melanoma Cancer: Does Age Make You Safe?

The statistical data shows that age does not make you fully protected from this condition in any way. Even if you do not have it now, the process which will lead to its development may have already started. There are two conclusions that can be made based on the statistical data. Prevention measures should be adopted as early as possible, preferably in infancy. Secondly, the full set of available measures has to be used.

Screening is one of the best methods for melanoma cancer prevention. An experienced dermatologist will be able to detect all suspicious moles which may become cancerous one day and monitor them to prevent the development of the condition. With regular screenings, no suspicious mole will go unnoticed. Along with regular checkups, you should avoid exposure to UV radiation and take appropriate protection methods when you have to stay in the sun.