Definition of Melanoma Skin Cancer
Melanoma skin cancer is skin cancer that develops from melanocytes. In addition to the skin, melanoma can also appear in the eyes. In fact, in rare cases, melanoma can grow in the nose or throat.
Melanocytes are skin pigment cells that function to produce melanin, which is the pigment that produces the color of human skin. Melanin is what works to absorb ultraviolet rays and protect the skin from damage.
Melanoma is a rare, but very dangerous type of skin cancer. This cancer starts from the human skin and can spread to other organs in the body if it is not treated too late.
Types of Melanoma Skin Cancer
Melanoma skin cancer is divided into four types, namely:
1. Superficial spreading melanoma
Superficial spreading melanoma generally grows by spreading on the surface of the skin, but over time it can develop into the inner part of the skin. Melanoma appears more often on the upper back and legs.
2. Lentigo maligna melanoma
Lentigo maligna melanoma usually appears in parts that are often exposed to sunlight, such as the face and hands, with a growth pattern such as superficial spreading melanoma . This type of melanoma often attacks the elderly.
3. Nodular melanoma
Nodular melanoma is the most aggressive type of melanoma and can grow quickly under the skin if not removed immediately. This type of melanoma usually takes the form of blue-black or reddish bumps that grow on the body, limbs, or scalp.
4. Acral lentiginous melanoma
Acral lentiginous melanoma is a rare type of melanoma that usually grows on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or around the nails. Melanoma often appears in dark-skinned people.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Symptoms
Melanoma is characterized by the appearance of new moles or the presence of changes in old moles. These changes can include the shape and color of the mole. In addition, moles affected by melanoma can itch and bleed.
Melanoma that appears in an unusual location, such as the eye or nail, can cause other complaints, such as:
- Blurred vision, floaters , or black dots in the white part of the eye
- The bottom of the nail turns black for no reason
Melanoma Skin Cancer Treatment and Prevention
The main method to overcome melanoma skin cancer is surgery. However, if necessary, the doctor can perform other actions, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
The risk of getting melanoma can be reduced by avoiding direct exposure to UV rays, both natural and artificial. One of the ways is to use sunscreen and wear complete clothing that can protect the whole body when outdoors.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Symptoms
Melanoma skin cancer is generally characterized by the appearance of new moles that have abnormal characteristics or the presence of abnormal changes in old moles.
Normal moles are generally one color, round or oval in shape, and less than 6 millimeters in diameter. Meanwhile, melanoma usually has characteristics that are abbreviated ABCDE. Here is the explanation:
- A ( asymmetrical ) or asymmetric: melanoma has an irregular shape and cannot be equal if divided in two
- B ( border ) or edge: melanoma has an uneven and rough edge
- C ( color ) or color: melanoma usually consists of several colors, such as black, white brown, red gray or blue
- D ( diameter ) or midline: melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters in diameter
- E ( evolution ) or change: melanoma can come from an old mole that changes shape and size after some time, or becomes itchy and bleeds easily
Melanoma generally appears in parts of the body that are often exposed to sunlight, such as the face, hands, back and legs. However, melanoma can also appear in areas that are rarely exposed to sunlight, for example:
- The bottom of the nail
- Palms or feet
- Vulva (female genital area)
- Mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, esophagus, urinary tract, vagina and anus
When should you go to the doctor?
Check with your doctor if you suspect there is a change in an old mole, especially if the mole bleeds or feels itchy. Also check yourself with a doctor if a new mole appears with an abnormal shape, according to the characteristics that have been mentioned above.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention
The best way to prevent melanoma skin cancer is to avoid exposure to ultraviolet rays for a long time on the skin. This is important, especially for people with a history of melanoma or other skin cancer, to help prevent the recurrence of melanoma skin cancer that has been treated.
Here are ways to avoid excessive UV exposure:
Avoid exposure to sunlight
Avoid direct sunlight, especially during the heat (between 10.00-14.00). At that time, try to stay in a shady place, wear clothes that cover the whole, and use sunscreen .
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Make sure the sunscreen matches your skin type and can protect the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
The use of sunscreen is recommended to be done every 2 hours, or every 1 hour if used while swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing
Wear clothing that protects the entire body, such as long-sleeved shirts and hats, before you are active outdoors during the day. If necessary, use sunglasses to protect the eyes and the surroundings.
Avoid artificial ultraviolet rays
Avoid artificial ultraviolet rays such as those found in tanning procedures to darken the skin. This procedure can increase the risk of skin damage and the development of melanoma skin cancer.
In addition to avoiding exposure to UV rays, be aware of changes in moles if you have moles. Be sure to do self-examination of moles regularly. If you see a change in the shape or color of the mole, consult and check with a doctor.