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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Medical Reference Related to Melanoma Skin Cancer

  1. Skin Cancer, Melanoma - Topic Overview

    What is melanoma? Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that starts in the pigment - producing skin cells called melanocytes. These cells become abnormal, grow uncontrollably, and aggressively invade surrounding tissues.

  2. Skin Cancer, Melanoma - Symptoms

    Early signs: The most important warning sign for melanoma is a change in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin growth, such as a birthmark. Watch for changes that occur over a period of 1 month to 1 or 2 years.

  3. What Happens

    Melanoma develops when normal pigment - producing skin cells called melanocytes become abnormal, grow uncontrollably, and invade surrounding tissues. Usually only one melanoma develops at a time. Although melanomas can begin in an existing mole or other s

  4. Treatment Overview

    Surgical removal (excision) of the affected skin is the most effective treatment for melanoma. Excision involves removing the entire melanoma along with a border (margin) of normal - appearing skin.

  5. What Increases Your Risk

    Risk factors for melanoma include: History of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sun exposure is the single most important risk factor for melanoma. History of sunburns, previous melanoma or other skin cancer, and family history of melanoma are also

  6. Other Treatment

    Radiation therapy may be used to treat advanced or metastatic melanoma. Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to destroy or shrink melanoma with little harm to nearby healthy tissue.

  7. Skin Cancer, Melanoma - Prevention

    The primary risk factor for developing melanoma is excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Some experts believe that 65% or more of melanoma is caused by exposure to the sun, especially during childhood.

  8. Surgery

    Complete surgical removal (excision) is the most successful and the most common treatment for melanoma. The lymph nodes may also need to be removed (lymphadenectomy) in stages II and III melanoma.

  9. Home Treatment

    Home treatment after removal of a melanoma includes protecting your skin from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and regularly checking your skin for suspicious skin changes.

  10. Exams and Tests

    A physical exam of skin is used to evaluate the skin for melanoma. If melanoma is suspected, a skin biopsy will be done. For this, your health professional will remove a sample of skin tissue and send it to a pathologist to be examined under a microscope.

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