What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is tumor of the skin that is cancerous (malignant). It grows from the melanocytes, the cells that color and tan the skin. Melanoma is also called cutaneous melanoma or malignant melanoma. The incidence of melanoma is increasing worldwide at a rate of about 5% per year.
It is a more serious problem than the more common skin cancers, basal cell cancer or squamous cell cancer. Unlike these cancers, melanoma often will spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Melanoma can appear on the body as a new mole, or one that has changed in size, shape, feeling or color, or developed oozing or bleeding.
Early detection and recognition of skin cancer are very important. Recognizing the early warning signs of melanoma and doing regular self-examinations of your skin can help find melanoma early, when the disease is more curable. Your doctor may also recommend medical tests based on your risk factors and medical history.
A painless medical technique being used for early detection of melanoma is epiluminescence microscopy, or dermoscopy. Using a handheld device, a doctor can evaluate the patterns of size, shape, and pigmentation in pigmented skin lesions.
Confocal scanning laser microscopy is another new technology that may improve the examination of possible melanoma lesions. Currently, it is only used in research studies and is available in a few major medical centers.
Adapted from original source: AOCD