May is Melanoma Awareness Month, making it the perfect opportunity to become more informed about this condition. Many of our daily habits, including the kinds of food we eat, the amount of water we drink, how much (and how well) we rest, the products we use and outdoor activity all affect the health of our skin. Due to this, it is important to be cognizant of which habits are good ones to have and practice.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of cancer usually associated with the skin (but not always) that begins in the melanocytes cells which are responsible for coloring the skin, hair, and eyes. Moles are also formed from melanocytes and melanoma often develops in these moles. 90% of the time, Melanoma cases can be linked to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. This exposure to UV rays can be on account of direct exposure to sunlight, or indoor tanning beds. Other factors such as environment, genetics, and family history also contribute to the development of Melanoma.
Can it be prevented?
While there are no guarantees, there are steps that you can take to minimize the likelihood of developing Melanoma. Protecting and taking care of your skin by reducing direct exposure to UV rays is a good place to start. Do this by using sunblock with the appropriate SPF whenever you are outside or participating in activities where UV rays are involved, as well as limiting these kinds of activities.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Cutaneous Melanoma is one of the easiest forms of cancers to detect in the early stages. This is because it is seen on the skin. Although it is easy to detect, if left untreated, Melanoma can spread quickly to distant sites and organs in the body – commonly the liver, bones and brain. Once Melanoma spreads, it is very difficult to treat.
Here at Universal Dermatology and Vein Care, we make your skin health our first priority. If you have questions or concerns about Melanoma and other skin-related issues, contact us today and we would be happy to help!