Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Melanoma: A Medical Problem on the Rise

Cutaneous melanoma incidents are rising faster than any other major malignancy. Over the past several decades, the increase has been so dramatic in the US that it can now be aptly termed an 'epidemic'. Thankfully, detailed analysis of mortality rate reveals that the danger has not quite reached an alarming level.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Although not as common as other skin cancer types, it is the most serious. Early signs of melanoma are changes in the shape or color of existing moles or a new lump anywhere on the skin. The condition can affect the skin alone, or spread to other organs, even the bones. As with other cancers, melanoma treatment works best when the cancer is found early.

How is it acquired?

You can get melanoma by spending too much time exposed to the sun's rays. Too much sun causes abnormality in normal skin cells, which can quickly grow out of control and attack surrounding tissues. The condition can also be hereditary.

How can you tell if you have melanoma?

Dermatopathologists hold an important role in the diagnosis of melanoma. They can tell if a changing mole may be a problem or not. A mole may appear and then get bigger, but still remain only a mole. If your doctor suspects melanoma, you can expect him to obtain a skin sample from you and send it to a dermatopathologist immediately. 

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