What is melanoma?
Melanoma is considered the most severe type of skin cancer. This cancer can develop in the skin cells that produce melanin which is the pigment that gives the skin its color. Melanoma could develop in the eyes and also in the internal organs. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds or lamps can increase the risk of developing the cancer; however the exact cause is unknown. The risk of developing melanomas may be reduced by limiting the exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The risk of this type of skin cancer has increased in individuals under the age of 40. Treatment could be effective if the cancer is detected early. Therefore knowing the warning signs and symptoms could help ensure that cancerous changes are detected before the cancer has a chance to spread. When an individual is showing signs of melanoma, questions may arise regarding the symptoms, causes and possible treatments. Read below for questions that have been answered by Experts about melanoma.
What are the different types of melanoma?
The four major types of melanoma include:
- Superficial spreading melanoma: This type is the most common, and occurs in about 70% of cases.
- Nodular Melanoma: can grow quickly and deeper. This type can occur in about 15-30% of cases.
- Lentigo Meligna Melanoma: occurs in about 5% of all cases and develops from lentigos instead of moles.
- Acral Lentiginous Melanoma: most common in Asians and African Americans.
How dangerous is a neglected melanoma?
Melanoma is considered a deadly cancer and therefore is very serious. The factors that can be used to determine the melanoma prognosis can include:
- How deeply the tissues are invaded by the tumor.
- The thickness of the tumor.
- Whether the lymph nodes are involved.
- Whether other organs are involved.
- Whether the tumor is ulcerated, bleeding or was an open sore.
The melanoma can become thicker, deeper and possibly spread the longer that it is left and not removed. These factors can all reduce the chance of survival.
How long does it take for a melanoma to appear?
Typically, melanomas are caused by several years of accumulated sun exposure. Some of the signs that can determine if a pigmented skin lesion should be evaluated by a medical practitioner can include:
- Symmetry: There is a higher risk if the lesion is asymmetrical.
- Coloration: Lesions that appear as black, blue, red or multicolored may have a higher risk than brown lesions.
- Change: Lesions that grow larger, change color or shape could have a higher risk.
- Borders: Blurred or uneven borders could have a higher risk.
- Size: Lesions that measure larger than 6 millimeters could have a higher risk.
- Bleeding: A lesion that develops a scabbed appearance or bleeds could have a larger risk.
Melanomas may not develop overnight, however they may change quickly which could give the impression that the lesion appeared quickly. An examination by a medical practitioner may be needed if there is any concern about a pigmented lesion on the skin. The medical practitioner may remove the lesions if there is any doubt.
How long does it take for a melanoma lesion take to grow?
Melanoma lesions grow at different rates of time. Some types may spread out into the surrounding skin for months or years and grow slowly before the tumors grow into the deeper layers of skin. While other types of melanomas can grow into the deeper layer of skin quicker. Therefore the time may not be predicted on how long it took for the tumor to grow into the deeper layers of skin. This type of cancer is not transmittable and cannot be spread to other individuals. However, other family members may have a higher risk of developing melanoma.
Melanoma is a common type of skin cancer. There are four major types of melanomas. This type of skin cancer can be dangerous and possibly deadly if left untreated. The lesions can develop of years however they can change quickly. For more information or answers to these questions, an individual can contact an Expert.