Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is reasonably common. There has also been a significant increase in diagnosed cases over the past 40 years. That said, this may be because there is now more knowledge of the various melanoma causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention, although it must be said that the increase in people who take sun-filled vacations is likely to also be linked.
Understanding the Melanoma Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention:
There are a number of risk factors associated with melanoma. However, it should be noted that meeting any, or even all, of these risk factors does not mean you will definitely get melanoma. The known risk factors include:
– Age, because the older you are, the more likely you are to develop it
– UV light exposure, from either the sun or sunbeds
– Freckles and skin color, with fairer skinned people with red or fair hair, being more prone to it
– Geographical birth location, particularly if you are fair and are born in a hot place like California.
– Intermittent sun exposure, particularly people who live in areas with seasons, and who go abroad to tan for a few weeks every year. Interestingly, this is also why people with higher incomes are more likely to get it, as they go on vacations more often.
– Being sunburned, which has been scientifically proven
– Going on sunbeds, which is why the IARC (International Agency for Research into Cancer) has listed them as a definite cause.
– Sunscreen, as people block the vitamin D that can be obtained from the sun, and because they are more likely to stay in the sun for longer.
– Having moles, particularly if you have more than 100 and if they are of irregular shape.
– Birthmarks, particularly if they are larger than 20 cm in size
– Family history, with you being more likely to develop it if a direct relative had it. This is also due to the fact that you will share the same genetics and lifestyle. FAMMM (familial atypical multiple mole melanoma) syndrome is believed to be linked to 10% of all melanoma cases.
– Having had cancer before, with the risk being eight to 15 times higher if you had melanoma before. Other cancers that increase the risk include childhood cancers, leukemia, thyroid, prostate, breast, and kidney cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
– Medical conditions, including Parkinson's disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, HIV/AIDS and sarcoidis. The risk is slightly lower in those with asthma.
What You Can Do with Regards to the Melanoma Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention:
When understanding the causes, you are also better able to prevent the disease. The symptoms tend to focus on skin patches and changing moles. Being aware of those means that you are more likely to catch it early and receive treatment. Sometimes, the only treatment that is needed is surgery to remove the mole, after which you are free from the cancer. Other times, particularly if it has started to advance, you may also need other forms of treatment, including radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Making sure you protect your skin, particularly from UV rays, is the best way to avoid getting melanoma in the first place.