Melanoma Is The Most Common Type Of Skin Cancer Caused Due To Sun Exposure
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which begins in skin cells called Melanocytes. Melanocytes can grow together to form non cancerous moles. It will be easier to know more about Melanoma if we know more about Skin and Melanocytes (Growth, what is done by them and how they become cancerous).
Understanding the Skin and basis for Melanoma
Skin is the largest organ of our body which protects us against heat, sun, injury etc. , regulates body temperature , stores water and fat and produces vitamin D which is an important nutrient that our body needs. The inner layer of the skin is called the Dermis. This layer of skin contains blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles and glands. Some of the glands produce sweat and sebum which help to maintain body temperature and produce oil that prevents the skin from drying out. Pores in the skin help sweat and sebum to reach the surface. The outer layer of skin is called Epidermis. This layer of the skin mostly contain flat scalelike cells called Squamous cells. Basal cells which are round in shape lie under squamous cells. The lower part of this layer also contain Melanocytes.
Melanocytes and Moles
Melanocytes produce Melanin which is the pigment that gives skin its natural color. When the skin is exposed to the sun, this pigment is produced more which causes the skin to darken. Cluster of melanocytes and surrounding tissue form moles which are also called non cancerous growths. Moles are usually pink, tan, brown or a color that is very close to a person’s normal skin. Moles may be flat or raised, round or oval and can be present at the time of birth or appear later by the age of 40. They usually fade away as person grows older. Moles do not appear again if removed surgically.
A change in size, shape or color of a mole can be a sign of Melanoma. Other symptoms of a cancerous mole are itching, bleeding and scaliness. Melanoma can be cured if detected before it spreads to other parts of body and its diagnosis can be confirmed by biopsy of abnormal skin. To treat a patient suffering from melanoma, the doctor has to determine the thickness of the melanoma lesion, its spread to other parts of body. Its treatment also depends on the patient’s age, general health and extent of disease.
The prognosis of this disease also depend upon the thickness of the mole, depth of penetration of the skin, the extent to which it has spread and other characteristics of the tumor such as its mitotic rate and the presence of ulceration.
Listed below are some clinical trials for Melanoma. See if you or a loved one may qualify to participate.