The full extent to which skin cancer is affecting the population has prompted more research and more publicity on preventing the disease. It is thought that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and Australia and is increasing rapidly in many other countries. Whilst you might think this is scare mongering, the reality is that most forms of skin cancer are fairly easy to treat provided they are identified early on. As most skin cancer starts on the surface of the skin, it is easy to identify if you examine your skin regularly. With early identification comes a rapid treatment with total success. However of the three types of skin cancer, malignant melanoma is potentially very serious and can be life threatening if not spotted early.
This article will cover what is malignant melanoma , how it forms and how to prevent it. Cancer is thought to be caused by a combination of a persons genetic makeup and their exposure to some environmental condition. In the case of malignant melanoma, the environmental condition is too much exposure to the Sun.
Specifically, ultraviolet radiation from the Sun (UVA and UVB radiation). Or exposure to other things that radiate ultraviolet radiation onto and into the skin (Sun beds for instance). Too much ultraviolet radiation can mutate the DNA of a cell, making it cancerous.
The genes in the DNA that cause this become known as oncogenes. Cells that have undergone this transformation do not die but divide and proliferate. They grow at an unregulated rate. As they continue to multiply their growth can become invasive. Invasive growth harms the surrounding tissues and organs.
In some cases the cancerous growths can prevent the organs from functioning or can start to grow into the organs culminating with the destruction of the organ. Should the cancer get into the lymphatic system then it can spread throughout the body. When this occurs it becomes hard to stop the spread and difficult to treat. Current research suggests that the prime cause of malignant melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
And since it is virtually impossible to not be exposed to sunlight in some way, the Sun is the primary cause of melanoma. However other factors are thought to increase the chances of developing the disease. Your skin type can mean you are more at risk to the disease. If you have pale skin that doesn't tan but burns easily in the sun then you are more at risk. If your skin has freckles or you have blond or red hair then you are more at risk. If you have lots of moles on your body you may also be at risk.
However, it is thought that people born with moles on their bodies are at less risk. If anyone in your family has had skin cancer then your risk of getting the disease increases. Melanoma can start as a brown mark or spot on the skin.
This may be hard to distinguish from an ordinary mole however if it starts to change color or gets larger then this may be a sign of melanoma. If you notice something like this happening on your body you should see a doctor. It is virtually impossible to completely avoid sunlight and thus prevent melanoma. The only thing that is practical is to take measure to avoid being over exposed to the Sun. This means always wearing a hat and sunglasses. Wear clothing that covers most of your body.
Put sunscreen on areas that are not covered by the clothing, like the face or arms.
Find more details on common signs and symptoms of skin cancer at http://symptomsofskincancer.net