Sun Care Professionals

DERMATOLOGY


Melanoma... what is it?

The dangers of over-exposure to the sun.

It is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to the skin cells (most frequently caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations – genetic defects that lead to skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours.

These tumours originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; and some can also develop from moles.

The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but can also be skin coloured, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn) especially in those genetically predisposed to the disease.

In the UK there are over 11,000 people diagnosed with skin melanoma, of which 2,100 will not recover from treatment as the cancerous cells multiply.

When melanoma is diagnosed and treated early, it is in most cases curable, but if it is not then the cancer will advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes more difficult to treat and in some cases will be fatal.

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