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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of melanoma

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of melanoma

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of melanoma

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of melanoma

Incidence, age, sex

People of all ages can have melanoma, though chances of developing melanoma are more in older adults. Fair-skinned, light-haired, freckled or blue-eyed people or those who have large, unusual-looking moles are at higher risk of developing melanoma. Moreover, a past history of skin burns or a family history of melanoma may also contribute to development of melanoma.

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Signs and symptoms

The first sign of the developing melanoma is generally a change in appearance of an existing mole or occurrence of a new mole. There may be changes in size, shape, colour, border or texture of mole. Melanoma may appear as black, abnormal, ugly-looking mole or sometimes like a non-healing ulcer.

The diagnosis of melanoma is confirmed by performing a biopsy of the mole or area of the skin suspected of melanoma. The tiny portion of the suspected mole, is taken and sent to a pathological laboratory, where the pathologist examines the sample under a microscope for presence of cancer cells. The lymph nodes are also examined to assess the spread of melanoma to other parts of body.

Cause and prevention

The primary and most common cause of occurrence of melanoma is an excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation of the sun. The genetic factors and immune system deficiencies also contribute to development of melanoma. Some may develop melanoma as a result of childhood sunburns and sun exposure.

Melanoma can be prevented by taking following precautions:

  • Avoidance of "peak" sunlight hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) when the sun's rays are most intense
  • Application of sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, a few minutes before going outdoors
  • Reapplication of sunscreen every two hours, especially when doing outdoor activities
  • Wearing protective clothing like long-sleeve shirts, pants and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Protection of eyes by wearing ultra violet protected sunglasses
  • Avoid contact of ultraviolet radiation reflected by sand, water, snow, and ice.

Complication

The disease may spread to other parts of the body in advanced cases, causing cancer of the liver, lungs or the brain. Patients may suffer from the various side effects of the cancer treatment of melanoma. Moreover, there are increased chances of recurrence.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for melanoma treatment >

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