The most common form of cancer is skin cancer. Over one million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. About 60,000 of those people will be diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma is the more serious type of skin cancer.
Although melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer, it can be detected early and usually treated successfully. As with all cancers, early detection is the key to successful treatment.
Skin cancer comes in three main types: basal cell, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal and squamous cell cancers seldom become life threatening. But melanoma can be life-threatening if it is not detected early enough to get proper treatment.
Melanoma can be cured it if is detected and treated early enough. You need to learn to recognize changes in your skin so you can report these to your doctor quickly.
Melanoma begins in the cells that produce skin coloring or the protective pigment known as melanin. Melanin protects the deeper layers of skin from the sun’s harmful effects. Melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin which is why this type of skin cancer shows up as irregular dark splotches on the skin.
Melanoma may suddenly appear without any warning signs, or it may start in or near a mole or dark spot on your skin. It is not uncommon that these cancers appear as tan, brown, blue or black splotches.
Melanoma is the only skin cancer that commonly spreads throughout the body. Once melanoma spreads to the vital organs it becomes much more difficult to treat and cure. This is why it is so important to detect changes in your skin early and report these to your doctor. An easy tip for most to follow is to make a note of the color, size and locations of moles on your body. Also make notes of any changes you detect – then talk with your family doctor!
I’m sure you’ve heard that early detection of cancer is the key to higher survival rates. Please check your skin for changes and report these to your doctor. You just might be saving your own life!