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Should I talk to my doctor about Melanoma?

The largest organ of the human body is our skin, offering protection from the outside world and helping our bodies function on a daily basis. Our skin is made of two distinct layers: the epidermis and the dermis. Melanocytes are cells located in the epidermis that produce color. Melanoma is cancer of the skin, and develops when the malanocytes change and grow into a tumor. Pictures of melanoma show that this form of cancer can look like irregularly shaped moles that grow and change over time.

Melanoma is the most intense form of skin cancer and can affect other parts of the body if not diagnosed early, especially because it grows

below the surface of the skin and affect blood vessels and lymph nodes. Melanoma affects men and women of any age, and occurs in young people with greater frequency than other forms of cancer. The common age that people are diagnosed with melanoma is about 50 years old.

This type of cancer can sometimes develop in conjunction with an existing mole and is most often found on the skin of women's legs or men's backs. However, melanoma can be found anywhere on the body and may range in color from no color to slightly red or different shades of brown. Study of melanoma pictures shows that melanoma can look similar to ordinary moles.

Melanoma symptoms mostly involve the appearance of unusual or alarming looking moles on the surface of the skin, even when not exposed to the sun. Many melanoma are black or dark brown in color, which can be combined with shades of gray, blue, red or white. The shape of melanoma tend to be assymetrical with ragged edges and are about the size of a pencil eraser. If the mole appears to change size, shape, or color, it should be examined by a doctor immediately.

Any melanoma signs require both self-examination as well as examination by a doctor. Regular examination of the skin in the comfort of your own home is an important step to finding any suspicious areas that might be melanoma. Stand in bright light in front of a full-length mirror examine the legs, arms, back and front of the entire body. If any suspicious areas are discovered, your doctor can use dermoscopy or a simple biopsy to diagnose melanoma and prescribe effective treatment. Once diagnosed, melanoma can sometimes be treated with surgery


Have you talked with a doctor before about the possibility of melanoma?
Have you been diagnosed with melanoma by a doctor in the past?
Are you between the ages of 15 and 25?
Are you between the ages of 45 and 55?
Have you performed a self-examination to look for melanoma on the surfaces of your body, including those not exposed to the sun?
Do you have several existing moles on certain areas of your body?
Do any of these moles appear to have grown or changed since the last time you examined them?
Do any of these moles appear asymmetrical (half of the mole looks different than the other half)?
Do the moles appear to have uneven or jagged edges?
Are the moles dark brown or black?
Are there shades of white, red, gray or blue mixed in with the moles?