Melanoma is one of the most serious forms of skin cancer and it is also one of the most common. It is usually related to too much sun exposure. Other factors that can affect your risk of skin cancer include your family history.
Melanoma can develop fast, and the best way to treat it is to prevent it and to notice the warning signs as early as possible. If the cancer is detected in its early stages, most people make a full recovery.
Causes of Melanoma
The main cause of melanoma is overexposure to the sun. Sunburn is especially damaging to the skin. If someone in your family has or has had any type of skin cancer, you could have a higher risk of getting melanoma. Light-skinned people are a risk group, and if you have had many sunburns in the past you are at a higher risk of melanoma.
Tanning beds can also increase the risk. A weakened immune system can put you in a risk group. If you have moles that look abnormal, you can have a higher risk of developing this common type of skin cancer.
If you have a lot of moles, you should check them regularly for warning signs. You should also notice any new moles. Because this type of skin cancer can develop inside a mole you already have, it can develop very fast.
Look for moles that are asymmetrical (different parts of the mole look different), that have irregular borders, that have uneven color (normal moles are usually brown but melanomas may have a tint of white, pink, red, black or bluish shades), that are abnormally large or that keep growing.
If you have bleeding or itching moles or if your moles change their shapes, it is important to see a doctor.
Get a MoleMap to help Avoid Melanoma
If you have any moles that worry you and that match the warning signs of melanoma, visit your doctor for a professional check-up. Your doctor can also refer you to a dermatologist for further tests.
Removing moles is an easy procedure. Avoiding overexposure to the sun and especially avoiding sunburn are the best ways to prevent melanoma.