Melanoma Skin Cancer Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

The largest organ of the human body is your skin. It is your body’s first line of defense against infections, injuries, heat, and sunlight. It also helps in controlling the temperature of your body and getting rid of the excess water and salt by sweating it out. Skin cancer is also known as cancer of the sun. Excessive amounts of ultra violet lights affect your skin in negative ways, possibly leading to Melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer there is and can often times be fatal (McClay).
Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells commonly found in your lower part of your outer layer of skin, which is known as the epidermis. The natural color of your skin is produced by melanin. When skin is being exposed to the sun, melanocytes are producing more melanin, or pigment, causing your skin to gradually darken (“Melanoma”). At times, melanocytes may malfunction (“Melanoma and Skin Cancer Symptoms”). Spending time in the sun for too long can cause your normal skin cells to quickly become abnormal. The abnormal cells grow rapidly and destroying tissue and crowding other healthy cells surrounding them. The skin cells have now lost their ability to grow normally. The condition is known as cancer (“Melanoma”)
Anyone can develop melanoma, but the risk goes up with age, as well as people with family history of it (Altman). “People who have fair complexions and skin that burns easier rather than tan are at greater risk. It is also more frequent for men to develop skin cancer than women, people who spend more time outside than people who spend time indoors, people who live near the equator than father away, and for older people than younger ones. The upper back of men and the lower legs of women is where it most often occurs. As for older people, the face is most common for it to appear. Incidence of melanoma amongst blacks is extremely low, because of the melanin already produced in their skin (Knight). In 1992 there were approximately 62,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed and around 6,700 deaths. Each year, over 55,000 people get diagnosed with melanoma in the United States (Altman).
Any type of change size, color, or shape of a mole is an important warning sign. For weeks or months, watch the changes that occur. The ABCDE rule is a helpful rule to estimate skin changes. A is asymmetry. If one half of a mole does not match the other have there is no symmetry. B is border irregularity. Jagged, uneven, or blurred edges of a mole should catch your attention. C is color. Changes in the mole color, particularly from the edge of the mole to the middle. D is for the diameter. If the mole is larger than 6mm the mole should be of concern. E is evolution. Changes in the surface size and shape, as well as itching or tenderness should be observed. Often time’s melanoma is developed in unmarked skin, but can also develop in existing moles or birthmarks (“Melanoma and Skin Cancer Symptoms”). Skin examinations should be an often routine...

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