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C.A.C. Dike |
Table of Contents
Definition Pg. 1
Introduction Pg. 1
Signs and symptoms Pg. 1-4
Pathophysiology( Intrinsic factors) Pg. 4-5
Environmental factors Pg. 5-6
Types of Melanoma Pg. 6-7
4 Stages and Evolution of Melanoma Pg. 7-9
Prevention of Melanoma Pg. 9
References Pg. 10
Malignant melanoma is a neoplasm of melanocytes or of the cells that develop from melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells predominantly in the skin, but are also found in other parts of the body that produce a pigment called melanin that colors our skin, hair, and eyes. Malignant melanoma develops when the melanocytes no longer respond to normal control mechanisms of cellular growth. They may then invade nearby structures or spread to other organs in the body, where again they invade and compromise the function of that organ. Melanoma can occur in any part of the body that contains melanocytes.
Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, but it is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes the majority of deaths related to skin cancer. If it is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.
The diagnosis is more frequent in women than in men and is particularly common among Caucasians living in sunny climates, with high rates of incidence in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Latin America, and northern Europe. Solar exposure and genetic factors are responsible for the majority of these cases of melanoma. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but often they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white.
Signs and symptoms
The key to treating melanoma is recognizing symptoms early. You might not notice a small spot of concern if you don't look carefully, so perform thorough self-examinations. Early signs of melanoma are changes to the shape or color of existing moles or, in the case of nodular melanoma, the appearance of a new lump anywhere on the skin. The primary symptom of any skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. Any change in appearance of a pigmented skin sore over time is a warning sign. Also, watch for any bleeding from a skin growth. At later stages, the mole may itch, ulcerate or bleed. Early signs of melanoma are summarized by the mnemonic "ABCDE".
The ABCD mnemonic system may help you remember features that might be symptoms of melanoma:
•Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different from the other half.
•Borders: The lesion or growth has irregular edges.
•Color: Color changes from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, or black sometimes white, red, or blue. A mixture of colors may appear within one sore.
•Diameter: The trouble spot is usually but not always larger than 6 mm in diameter -- about the size of a pencil eraser.